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Monday, May 10, 2010

Frightened Rabbit w/ Maps & Atlases @ The Pabst Theater

May 9, 2010

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In 2007, an emerging indie-rock band from Scotland named Frightened Rabbit took the stage at the Pabst Theater, hoping to find a few fans as they opened for Pinback. Sunday night the band returned, having earned the audience to headline the stage themselves.

While the extra attention might scare a band or blind them from seeing what got them there—the raw power of music and their fan base—Frightened Rabbit took command of the stage like the Energizer Bunny. The group thrilled with a show that drew heavily from their well-reviewed album The Winter of Mixed Drinks, released earlier this year.

Led by singer Scott Hutchison and his rich, emotionally powerful voice, the band kept the crowd’s attention with both surging anthem-like songs (none as powerful as “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”) and songs that revealed their treasures over time, with melodies that swirled around in a wall of harmonies. Hutchison made the crowd feel at home during song breaks, telling stories and joking around between fan favorites like “The Twist,” “Head Rolls Off” and “Keep Yourself Warm.”

The music, indie-rock with a helping of folk, stirred the crowd into a frenzy. Even during an acoustic solo by Hutchison the audience roared with ecstatic applause.

“I haven’t had this much fun in a solo,” he said with a laugh before joining his band mates for a powerful finish.

Our Brother the Native and Maps & Atlases opened the night, both to a welcome reception by those who arrived early. The former offered a novel sound that their MySpace page describes as R&B, jungle and neo-soul. Maps & Atlases’ set suggested it may only be a matter of time until they breakout, thanks to the distinctly high-pitched, powerful vocals of lead singer Dave Davison, whose voice was complemented by swirling, playful guitars and melodies.

Photo by CJ Foeckler

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