Frightened Rabbit, as filtered through the Mayans


no images were found

If you came to the Mayan Theatre on Wednesday night prepared to be swept away emotionally by Frightened Rabbit’s poetic anthems of love, loss and redemption, your expectations were half met. The other half of you departed absolutely certain that frontman Scott Hutchison could give fellow Scotsman Craig Ferguson a run for his money on late-night television.

When Frightened Rabbit weren’t endearing themselves to the half-full house with their melodies and metaphors, singer-guitarist Hutchison was cracking wise about the venue, meeting Tom Hanks and ticket prices, as well as exchanging banter with a shouter in the audience he’d met at a previous gig. “We had a conversation about Billy Joel two years ago in Hoboken,” Hutchison deadpanned, “and he’s here tonight.”

It wasn’t necessarily the chattiness that turned the quintet’s 75-minute set into an emotional pendulum. The guitar-deficient sound mix turned Frightened Rabbit’s shoegazey parts into fleece slippers, sapping some of the dynamic out of the sprawling, slow-building songs from their 2010 album “The Winter of Mixed Drinks.”

Hutchison seemed to sense it. “This is an interesting place,” he said, again deadpan, “so the Mayans built it in downtown Los Angeles and then they installed a PA.”

No matter – “Nothing Like You” and “Living in Colour” still packed a punch, and “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” made a vivid argument for a man’s need to cross boundaries so he can find a new place. For the encore, Hutchison left his bandmates Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan, Gordon Skene and his brother Grant off-stage while taking up an acoustic guitar, coming to the stage’s edge and performing “Poke” unamplified.

It was as touching as the final song was wry. The band implored the house to lower the huge disco ball that the Mayan uses on its many dance nights and finished with a lively rendition of “The Twist,” off their 2008 album “The Midnight Organ Fight.” No matter how many spotlights hit the over-sized orb, though, it never sparkled as much as Frightened Rabbit’s music.