This past Sunday brought two foreign bands to San Francisco’s famed Fillmore: Plants and Animals, hailing from the heart of Canada’s indie scene (Montreal), and Frightened Rabbit, who made the transcontinental journey from Scotland. Plants and Animals opened, methodically moving through their most recent release, La La Land, while sprinkling in a couple of older favorites. Usually, more times than not, opening bands tend to hurry through their set, not letting the mood or the music set the tone. Not Plants and Animals. Their chosen set list provided them room to breathe and they appeared perfectly willing, and rightly so, to let their songs–most notably “Game Shows,” “Good Friend,” “The Mama Papa” and “Undone Melody” each averaging about five to eight minutes long–take hold of a crowd who otherwise might have hoped for sing-a-longs more akin to that of the headliner.
And while, admittedly, my attendance was due mostly to that of Plants and Animals coming back to San Francisco for the second time this year, I was excited to catch Frightened Rabbit, who is hot off the success of their most recent release, The Winter of Mixed Drinks. To the crowd’s delight, the Scotsmen, who were led by vocalist/guitarist/lyricist Scott Hutchison, serenaded the crowd with tales of love, sadness and the positive effects of enjoying alcoholic drinks (though that needn’t be pointed out to the crowd). While the crowd came off as homogeneous- white and buttoned-down shirts galore!- their taste varied along with the wide array of song styles that Frightened Rabbit implored. Sure, the majority of the songs have the same “sound” – acoustic ballads in the storytelling style of Okkervil River – but they’re each original in their own right, which, combined with the crowd’s emphatic reception, is a strong indication that Frightened Rabbit is probably here to stay. At various points during the show it seemed as if the crowd collective couldn’t decide between being serenaded or if they should sing along, but that didn’t matter in the least- the width of their smiles were all the same no matter.
Plants and Animals: “The Mama and Papa”[audio: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11598506/Plants%20and%20Animals%20-%20Mama-Papa.mp3]