Posted by Kate Zezulka.
Reviewed on 10th September 2008.
Live at Brudenell Social Club on Thursday, 4th September 2008
When the two planned supports pull out last-minute, it would be very easy for disaster to strike, and this evening Yonderboy and Fran Rodgers are drafted in on very short notice to avert a possible catastrophe. The aphorism that the most valuable skill is not being able to eliminate mistakes, but rather having the capacity to pick yourself up regardless of any minor hitches seems uncannily appropriate.
Yonderboy are perhaps the most blatant example of this. The pure pressure of such an eleventh-hour gig for any band is exaggerated ten-fold for Yonderboy as it is their first foray out of the practice room. More power to them, then, for pulling off such an entertaining set. The band's initial hesitancy is quickly shaken off and, as they get into the swing of their set, this outfit's promise becomes undeniable. Their appealing, capricious and quintessentially British indie material is executed with great flair, brilliantly down-to-earth Northern quips and some elastic instrumental noodling. If this is what we can expect from Yonderboy on a first gig, the prospect of the band a little while on borders on the alarming.
Fran Rodgers is a more than worthy replacement act tonight. Fresh from the Leeds Festival's Festival Republic Stage, Rodgers is noticeably sharper musically for it but, thankfully, her set is as atmospheric and heartfelt as ever. Her characteristically understated guitar and dulcimer accompaniments are remarkably tidy and, in the Brudenell's modest surroundings, her technically astonishing and expressive vocal skills seem even more remarkable. Put simply, Fran Rodgers has one of Leeds' most emotive voices, a stellar achievement in itself, but her interpretation of folk is a fantastic epitome of the genre, and beautiful use of looped vocal harmonies - a small Fran Rodgers vocal orchestra is quite something - are also strong assets.
And then onto the night's constant, Frightened Rabbit. Nicely coinciding with the gig's apparent theme, the band also manage to transcend a few technical problems through not only winning banter but also some purely unshakeable musicianship. The churning, intricate instrumental parts create an even more three-dimensional texture live, with graceful guitar melodies, flowing bass and dynamic, limber kit work which, combined with Scott Hutchinson's plaintive and sincere vocal timbre, makes for a stunning set. If that wasn't already enough, a short solo, completely acoustic moment is a good change of pace and subdues the audience startlingly. That Frightened Rabbit can transfer the loveliness of their recorded work in to a live context so seemingly effortlessly, even adding more gorgeous scope to the sound, is surely testament to their brilliance.
And if all involved manage not only to rise above minor debacles but make something so successful out of the evening, that also surely demonstrates something a bit special.
Folk / Acoustic
Leeds-based Indie-pop combo