Maps & Atlases and Frightening Crows
May 4, 2010. On a Tuesday night at the Opera House with Our Brother the Native opening, Maps & Atlases batting 2nd (homerun!) and Frightened Rabbit headlining.Doors opened at 8pm. My friend (Stephen) and I decided we'd meet at the venue around 930pm. By that time, the opening act should be midway through their set.... or so we ASSUMEd. Turns out Maps and Atlases had already started into their set by 9:30. Doh!! Sucked to be me since Maps & Atlases were my primary reason for attending this concert; although, I was interested in Frightened Rabbit. I had never heard Frabbit's music before but was aware they've been garnering shitloads of critical acclaim from indie music review sites everywhere. Furthermore, the concert was sold out b/c of Frightened Rabbit.
I imagine Dave has frightened many a rabbit with his beard, in fact he may actually be harboring a few scared mammals in his facial hair forest. =) But in all earnest, I can't bestow enough accolades for this most phenomenal of bands. "Tree, Swallows, Houses" is the perfect amalgamation of beautiful melodies with jaw-dropping technical skill. Anything Maps composes is golden but to be honest I favor the "mathier" more aggressive sound of their earlier works. Which is why I'm choked that after seeing Maps & Atlases perform for the 3rd time (albeit within the last 2 mos) I have yet to see them play my 2 favorite songs "The Most Trustworthy Tin Cans" and "Stories About Ourselves" I missed the first few songs but from what I can tell Maps mostly played new songs off their forthcoming album "Perch Patchwork" "Artichokes" sounded great and I think I remember them playing "Ted Zancha" The good news is they'll be coming back soon on Aug 7 headlining their own tour to promote the new album. They fucking better play Tin Cans and Stories!!!!!! or i'mma shave Dave's beard!
I was gleefully content having watched one of my favorite bands in Maps & Atlases. And I was hoping for a pleasant surprise on watching Frightened Rabbit for the 1st time. They started off with a powerful instrumental intro but it was essentially downhill from then on, at least to my jaded ears. I really wanted to like this band. By no means are they bad but while listening to them some weird similarities to Great Big Sea (folk) and Tom Cochrane (smarmy pop-rock) popped into my head. But my friend Stephen hit the nail on the head with his comparison of Frightened Rabbit to the Counting Crows. As soon as he said it.. my response was "Oh shit! That's it!!! Counting Motherfucking Crows!" I thought my brain had successfully erased all memory of that craptacular band only to witness a Scottish reincarnation a decade later. The crowd as a whole loved the performance and showed their enthusiasm quite boisterously which gave me both a sense of irony and profound nausea. (you're cheering for counting crows for chrissakes!!) I left the show a bit early. Stephen bumped into another friend so I didn't feel too guilty making my escape. Watched "LOST" as soon as I got home. =)
edit: I realize stating Frightened Rabbit = reincarnation of Counting Crows is a gross overgeneralization. I've only had a cursory exposure to Frabbit's music. Hope I didn't piss too many people off. Not implying they're derivative but there clearly is some similarity in style.