Images and review by Garcia Borgo Photography
Testing their fans’ true devotion, Frightened Rabbit launched The Midnight Organ Fight tour in Chicago in the middle of winter. Two nights at the 1300 capacity Thalia Hall sold out in record time. Fans flew out from San Diego, Portland, and Minneapolis. They drove out from Kansas City, Madison, and Milwaukee. They stood out in the snow for hours before the show and waited for handshakes and signatures for hours after the show. Fans clapped along, whooped and hollered, stomped their feet, and belted out every lyric to every song. That’s fandom.
Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their legendary The Midnight Organ Fight, the lads from Glasgow were at ease with each other and jovial on stage, especially drummer Grant Hutchison, whose energy and smile is positively contagious. The band tried several times to convince the audience that they are a just bunch of “miserable bastards” but that is just Scottish speak for we like to keep it simple and we don’t have giant egos.
As is expected, lead singer, Scott Hutchison, didn’t hold back from his usual storytelling. He was especially chatty on night one, and a little less so on night two – he did explain that his brother thought he was upsetting the flow of the show with his narrations. Ah, but the fans love him for his routine storytelling! And I hate to say “routine storytelling,” because it makes it sound like he has a shtick, and that is most definitely not the case. His stories, anecdotes, and banter are different from show to show, proof that he is out to connect and entertain the audience gathered together on that one specific night. And isn’t that a sign of a true gentleman? Definitely not a miserable bastard.
As a way to “warm-up,” the show started off with a few songs from their other albums; “Pedestrian Verse,” “Winter of Mixed Drinks,” and “Panic of A Painting Attack.” Night two’s encore contained a rousing version of “Square 9” off of their debut album, Sing The Greys. See full setlist below.
And the rest of the night, well, we all now what that was all about. Frightened Rabbit played The Midnight Organ Fight from front to back – sending the crowd into a frenzy with the opening guitar riff of “The Modern Leper” and ensconcing us with the simple, sweet melody of “Who’d You Kill Now?” as they wrapped up the performance of the album. Crowd favorites were the boisterous sing-alongs to “The Modern Leper,” “Keep Yourself Warm,” and “The Loneliness and The Scream.”
In their usual fashion, part of the proceeds from sale of their merchandise will be donated to charity. For this tour, they will be contributing to Everytown, an organization that strives to raise awereness about gun violence, put pressure on lawmakers to improve gun laws, and to connect and mobilize those who are in favor of responsible gun ownership. Scott Hutchison’s drawings on Grant’s drumhead netted $800 the first night and at least $1600 the second night.
Their sold-out tour continues on to Canada, the East Coast of the US, and the United Kingdom.
Setlist Night 1:
Living in Colour / I Wish I Was Sober / Swim Until You Can’t See Land / Nothing Like You / The Modern Leper / I Feel Better / Good Arms vs Bad Arms / Fast Blood / Old, Old Fashioned / The Twist / Bright Pink Bookmark / Heads Roll Off / My Backwards Walk / Keep Yourself Warm / Extrasupervery / Poke / Floating in the Forth
The Oil Slick / The Woodpile / The Loneliness and the Scream
Setlist Night 2:
Living in Colour / Holy / Swim Until You Can’t See Land / Get Out / The Modern Leper / I Feel Better / Good Arms vs Bad Arms / Fast Blood / Old, Old Fashioned / The Twist / Bright Pink Bookmark / Heads Roll Off / My Backwards Walk / Keep Yourself Warm / Extrasupervery / Poke / Floating in the Forth
Square 9 / The Woodpile / The Loneliness and the Scream
Wintersleep, from Nova Scotia, opened up the night and played a strong set of songs – most of them from their most recent album, The Great Detachment.