Frightened Rabbit Might Be The Loudest Indie Folk Band On The Planet
Reviewed on Friday March 10
The last time tonight's headliners performed in Sydney, a fiery up-and-coming band by the name of Gang Of Youths were opening. Since then, they have gone on to become one of the country's most in-demand and celebrated acts – not entirely on account of their Frightened Rabbit slot, of course, but it certainly couldn't have hurt.
In the same position tonight are indie-pop quartet ADKOB, and one can easily foresee a similarly prosperous future for them. A creative, engaging live act, ADKOB present a unique, tactful approach to the mould set by genre semantics. Not only are their songs acutely detailed and smartly arranged, their quicksilver nature is complemented by a confident and purposeful live execution. Mark Piccles (vocals, guitar, percussion, samples) and Jane Doutney (keyboard, percussion, samples, vocals) busy themselves through each arrangement, the former even using his toes to trigger sounds while holding down his main duties. In less capable hands, it could easily result in a clutter, but the Sydneysiders ensure it produces a joyful noise.
The first thing that strikes you about Frightened Rabbit from a live perspective is their sound – specifically, the amount of it. For a band routinely versed in acoustic guitars and the folkier side of indie rock, it should be noted how loud they can get. It's got a lot to do with drummer Grant Hutchison – a burly, intense musician who quite literally drives the songs while screaming into the ether. There's also the layering of guitars – at some junctures, there are four being played simultaneously with the low end being held down by Billy Kennedy's organ pedals.
On top of all of that, of course, is the sheer power with which the sold-out crowd sings back every last one of frontman Scott Hutchison's resonant and confessional lyrics. ‘Head Rolls Off’ starts with the drone of church organ before the choir attests to Jesus just being “a Spanish boy's name”, while ‘Holy’ revels in its stigmata: “Stop acting so holy / I know I'm full of holes”.
As the night ends upon their perennial closer ‘The Loneliness And The Scream’, we're a football crowd – clapping, chanting and letting our “woah-oh-oh-oh”s be heard.