REVIEW gig Frightened Rabbit St John At Hackney

Vital, Necessary & Oh So Powerful... Frightened Rabbit & Money

Oh, how the masses come to preach hallelujah. The serene and remarkable setting of the St John At Hackney Church is a remarkable yet fitting location for the joining of two vastly influential and inspiring names in the 21st century musical sphere.

Frightened Rabbit are a band not for the semi-automatic fan dwelling in the regions and outskirts of their musical universe, one that lives and breathes in the adoration and praise that stems from every release, and the reaction such tracks have on a mass of loyal followers that has spread over the course of four acclaimed studio albums. Recent LP “Painting Of A Panic Attack” has only extended their musical palate, syncopating electronic oozes alongside their well established heart-felt alternative rock.

For support band MONEY, they draw up to the church following a vastly revered second studio album 'Suicide Songs' that once again draws their very own portrait of self reflection, degradation and anguish into a mesmeric sonic soundscape of their own, equally as potent and vital as the other. What results is a delectable evening of two impactful and necessary names in modern alternative rock, and a coming together of a duo that are set to soundtrack generations to come with their potent emotional tales.

For openers MONEY it it an enviable task, pre-empting one of the most seminal alternative bands of the 21st century, yet their own repertoire of daggering and heart-ripping sounds leave an unavoidable mark. Frontman Jamie Lee stands as one of the most captivating frontmen of the 21st century, an ever inquiring enigma that opens his own soul every time a breath is taken from his mouth tonight.

“You Look Like A Sad Painting On Both Sides Of The Sky” is a harrowing yet particularly light tale, straining and pulling in all the right places to form an engulfing aura around the stage tonight. The ceramic echoes and wistful refrains of the church add an extra gravitas to their mournful gazes, with “Hopeless World” and “Night Came” erupting into passionate hails of petit genius and reverb.

The yearning pleas of freedom and acceptance ring through, as one of the most seismic records of 2016 ring through the hallowed halls, “I’ll Be The Night” sitting as a particular stand out, pulsating with emotion from start to finish and showcasing the more optimistic and positive side of the particularly dark songwriting that lives within the band.

Gruffled, rippled with pain and sounding as important as they’ve ever been, MONEY should expect to fill this venue within their own standalone show, and their combination tonight showcases just how mesmeric and undiminished they remain as the standout future of sombre yet powerful songwriting. “Cocaine Christmas And An Alcoholic’s New Year” is a rousing closer, a Pogues-esque drunken vision that we all get, dreaming of a brighter day and a greater celebration and a fitting closer to a dark journey into the minds of modern darkness.

Headliners Frightened Rabbit are one within their own, commanding an intimate stage that they have long outgrown yet serves as a fitting cathartic den for lighting the next exciting phase for one of the most beloved and revered acts of the current age of songwriters and alternative thinkers.

In Scott Hutchinson they possess one of the most acclaimed wordsmiths of a generation, in the vein of a Thom Yorke and Billy Bragg, effortlessly seeding his words with a relevance and potency that many long for. Opener “Get Out” is a signpost for the new record, embracing a more glitchy and off kilter sounds that bristles with euphoric and demanding cacophonies to ease Frightened Rabbit into another age.

“Woke Up Hurting” and “I Wish I Was Sober” see early renditions, more suited to the sound many come to associate with the band - stripped, raw and unashamedly honest in a way that can only be connected with an audience vast outreaching the capacity crowd gathered in this hallowed church.

Yet it’s within their repertoire of current classics that Frightened Rabbit live within their own, and through tonight’s sermon they preach to the masses with the symphonies and sounds they long for. Recent cuts from their previous studio effort “Pedestrian Verse” are greeted in electric warmth, with early-starter “Holy” vibrating a mesmeric collective glee and their sheer prowess and influence is stunning to view in such a palpable evening.

“Living Colour” is packed with an almost widescreen-rock sound, and throughout the night Frightened Rabbit continue to hit hard, with an array of tracks from “The Midnight Organ Fight” and “The Winter Of Mixed Drinks” peppering the setlist in true fan-favourite style with “Head Rolls Off” particularly striking well thanks to the surroundings they find themselves tonight.

What seems to have connected with many and Frightened Rabbit, is a brutal honesty of the everyman, translating the thoughts and anxieties of thousands into a distilled and potent cocktail that leaves everything on the stage.

New album cut “Lump Street” is a descending update on a “How Soon Is Now?” epiphany, as the heart on your sleeve devotions continue to ring out in a night like no other. Yet after an emphatic showcase of their power, it’s when Hutchinson takes to the church’s pulpit, to ring out the opening refrains of “Keep Yourself Warm” that the night takes off into a completely different sphere.

The congregation sing back this unifying call to arms, becoming the gospel choir of heart-stopping rawness and Frightened Rabbit stand atop a mountain as one of the most powerful, influential and vital acts of our time. A final salvo of “The Woodman”’ and its euphoric pulsations and “The Loneliness And The Scream” leaves little to doubt just how accurate a line that really is.

There’s an undeniable sense of perfection in bringing Frightened Rabbit to St Johns tonight, a sense of inevitability that such an adored and revered band would finally be able to take that devotion into a space that relies on it each and every week.

To give purpose and meaning in a world that seems to shut down and dismantle any sign of joy, freedom and acceptance. That doesn’t want to hear about how shit your day at work was, or if you’re struggling to deal with a moment in life - to show pain and emotion seems to be a conclusion nobody wants to take on and thrive in. Yet both Frightened Rabbit and MONEY do that, and more than ever there needs to be bands willing to face and thrive in the face of adversity, to make it okay to feel something.

There’s a sense that Frightened Rabbit could take on the world with the strum of a guitar, and wherever that may be, there will be a legion of followers there with them.

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