Frightened Rabbit Live, Swan Lane, Navan, Support from Rory Bowens

10 Sep

Friday saw me heading to the town which I went to school in, grew up outside of and left 6 years ago for college and never moved back. Navan is a big enough town, its bigger than Ennis in Clare but smaller than Bray in Wicklow just to give you some idea, but with a population of about 30,000 it’s lacking quite a lot of things to do. It has always been a town where cover bands are far more welcome than original bands, bar venues that lasted a few months over the years with bands where the closest it ever came to embracing live original music. So when I heard Frightened Rabbit were playing the new venue (which is a converted nightclub that was the place to go when the other clubs turned you away on a saturday night) I was amazed and also very unsure how it would go. So friday was met with a healthy dose of excitement for seeing one of my favourite bands but with a reality check that I was going to see them in a town I had little faith would actually listen to them play.

Firstly I want to say that the Venue Swan Lane itself is brilliant the sound is perfect, the layout is brilliant and its a music venue to rival any of similar size in the country.
I wasnt expecting anything from the support on the night I hadn’t heard of either and it was Navan after all. Well first up was a chap called Eli Spring, who was a fairly polished act that could probably be dropped straight on to radio and do quite well for himself. Acoustic rock with a kindve country american rock sound, if you like the Coronas or The Script you will probably like this guys style.
The second support act was a different story altogether, as I sat with my girlfriend and friend in the front row of tables, we watched this young lad bounce up on to the stage with his guitar and look instantly at ease. Rory Bowens (Bowens and The Wood) is an entertainer he instantly started trying to make a connection to the crowd introducing his songs and rambling away between each one in his own unique manner getting a few laughs from the crowd as he played. He played a quirky, funny, relevant solo acoustic set with songs about awkwardly bumping into your ex or lost loves. One song in particular called “sore heads” was introduced as the dirty one night stand section of his show.

(Disclaimer: the online stuff is old and not the best example of this young talent, you have to see him live to really see what I saw or wait for the new EP)

There are moments when he sounds like the Smiths and moments when I felt Noah And the Whale might be an influence. He’s a fan of Frightened Rabbit which comes through in his lyrical style. All the while thinking that above anything his songwriting was new and believable, I love to watch someone get up and play songs that they have actually lived, not just someone churning out a melody with meaningless words. He was engaging on stage with a presence to grab the crowd’s attention, the banter between songs was perfect for the night nothing to long or too serious just enough to grab the audience before a song started. After some investigation he and his band have recorded an ep and I will definitely be having a listen and letting you know more about Bowens and The Wood in future.

Now to get to the main act of the night Frightened Rabbit, I don’t really need to say much, I’ve mentioned them on the blog before, here. They are a Scottish indie rock band with a talent for delivering some lyrics which are brutally honest as a friend once put it. The lead singer Scott can stand by himself with just a guitar and silence a whole crowd or start a mass sing-along, but with the whole band the energy on stage just flows into the crowd usually producing an atmosphere that is very hard to find anywhere else. The gig was billed as a semi acoustic show but upon the bands arrival to the venue they took one look at the place and decided it was too good to play just acoustic and instead we were treated to a full performance, including Scott playing requests for an encore before the band finished with the fantastic Loneliness and The Scream. I’m going to see them again on Friday in the academy so will do a proper review then. I have never gone to see the same band twice in one week, So to say that I love this band is an understatement but I can guarantee you if you go see Frightened Rabbit this friday night you will not regret it, they are simply one of the best bands around at the moment and live they are just special. I was lucky enough to meet them after the gig and get a Vinyl copy of their album Midnight Organ Fight signed by the whole band, they are a lovely bunch of lads and up for the craic by what I’ve seen so far. The tour is in aid of the soon to be released ep State Hospital, the follow-up to another ep and third album Winter of Mixed Drinks.

They are also playing an acoustic set at the Ruby Sessions in Doyles tomorow night.
This is a decent video of a semi acoustic show they did in San Francisco.


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