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live reviews What we've been to see...

FRIGHTENED RABBIT The Hi Fi Tuesday April 30

You couldn’t get two more disparate groups hanging out in the Entertainment Quarter – a legion of scantily clad teens flocking excitedly to Flume, and ranks of dour bearded types on a pilgrimage to see brilliant Scottish miserablists Frightened Rabbit. Frontman Scott Hutchison hits the nail on the head in his opening address to the faithful (after a crowd-warming rendition of ‘Modern Leper’)… “I didn’t realise there was another show going on next door tonight, I thought Christ, our fanbase has changed dramatically since the last time we toured. I didn’t know anyone so young could have experienced heartbreak… although dressed like that…” Hutchison is a funny man – and he’s looking healthy and jovial, a long way from the heartbreak and despair that informed 2008’s Midnight Organ Fight and, to a lesser extent, 2010’s Winter of Mixed Drinks. For it was Hutchison’s raw nerve documenting of a horrific relationship breakdown, in all its truth and ambivalence


Sydney Opera House Thursday April 25 Identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin seem an odd pick for the Opera House. Yet from the moment they take the stage the Canadian duo are immediately at ease – confident, hilarious and natural. These ladies know how to work a crowd. Working quickly through their hefty catalogue, the Canadian duo recount story after story of awkward on-stage moments, encounters with ‘actually famous people’ gone wrong and the weird, weird shit that fans mail them. Their raw honesty and willingness to share reveal them as entirely normal people, breaking down the sometimes awkward barrier between stage and audience. Sara tells the two thousand plus crowd about her first heartbreak, conceding that it was something she thought she might never get over. The next minute she apologises for the “structured lady jackets” the duo are sporting, admitting that they felt they needed to dress up for the performance at the Opera House. They too are not immune to the venue’s overwhelming sense of history and tradition. The next minute Tegan interrupts, “Sara, you’re really fucking weird.” And then they are away with the next song. There is laughter and banter aplenty and I find myself surprised by the emotional threads

and self-pity and despair, that elevated those two albums to instant classics. It’s a criticism that’s been levelled at new album Pedestrian Verse that Frightened Rabbit’s sound has moved from the shambolic, literary, intimate folk of their beginnings to a crisper, engineered sound with more fist-pumping festival anthems. That said, those fist-pumping anthems sound amazing live – and the band is a well-oiled machine of perfect harmonies, double drums, multiple guitars, keys and Hutchison howling like a wounded Highlander at the front. The highlight, though, is still when his acoustic guitar is delivered and the stage is cleared for solo renditions of ‘Poke’ and ‘Good Arms vs. Bad Arms’. Because there’s nothing like joining a few hundred heart-scarred fans in a sing along of, “Why won’t our love keel over as it chokes on a bone / And we can mourn its passing and then bury it in snow / Or should we kick its c*nt in / And watch as it dies from bleeding / If you don’t want to be with me just say and I will go.” Nick Jarvis

that Tegan & Sara manage to weave in the short space of 90 minutes. The duo are talented musicians and, perhaps more impressively, entertainers. While the acoustics of the Opera House make for an incredible aural experience, it’s only during the new song Closer at the end of the gig that people feel comfortable enough to stand. The seating arrangement makes for a weird vibe during Tegan and Sara’s more upbeat numbers. It feels just plain wrong to be sitting down – hands in lap – for old school hits ‘Back in Your Head’ and ‘The Con’. The awkwardness is amplified during tracks from their newest release, Heartthrob – an album that’s taken a decidedly different direction from their previous material. Saturated with raving synths and bubbly hooks, it misses the grittiness of previous albums and seems flaky in comparison. The duo start their encore with an acoustic rendition of ‘Call it Off’ and ‘Nineteen’, before a rendition of their collaboration with Tiesto ‘I Feel It In My Bones’, but it’s the haunting, melancholy melodies of the two previous tracks that are still hanging in the air: “Break it off, break my own heart / Maybe I would have been something you’d be good at / Maybe you would have been something I’d be good at / But now we’ll never know.” Liz Brown


BRAG :: 511 :: 06:05:13 :: 27

The Brag #511  
The Brag #511  

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