Caught in the floodlights

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I’m not a follower of contemporary pop music at all – my taste in it probably calcified pre-Beatles.

I can remember going to hear Lonnie Donnegan in Edinburgh in the mid-fifties and a Rod Stewart concert in the 70s or 80s, at a time when it was thought that he might come out in support of the Liberal party.

However, over the years I’ve followed the progress of the band Frightened Rabbit – partly because of the wonderful name, and also, of course, because of their Selkirk connection.

So when I heard that they were making a visit to their calf country, and when I discovered I was free that night, I went along.

There were no concessions for senior citizens.

This report is less about the music than about the occasion.

I have been coming to events in Selkirk’s Victoria Hall since February 1964 (Selkirk Opera’s production of Calamity Jane, to be exact).

Over the years I can’t count the variety of events that have brought me through its doors: Common Riding events, political meetings, band concerts, a Plattling beerkeller, weddings, dances, the Scottish Grand committee meeting outside London, variety concerts, theatre, and once the election count was held there, the year that the old constituency was split into two, and with the election of Archy Kirkwood for Roxburgh and Berwick, two Liberal MPs were elected in the Borders.

Maybe the only thing I’ve participated in – usually as an audience member – in its year-round calendar, is external certificate exams in May.

But never have I seen it so full, or so pulsating with energy, as it was during the Frightened Rabbit concert recently.

There must have been well over 500 people there, and while the majority of them were youngsters, and I was definitely the oldest, there was a reasonable sprinkling of the generation in between.

I’d forgotten the Rod Stewart concert and how all the fans stood rather than sat.

From my perch in the balcony, I looked down onto this swaying, enthusiastic crowd, and admired the innovation and professionalism of the set and lighting. And the music itself? All I can say is that I enjoyed it.

It wasn’t too loud for me, although the fact that I hadn’t got my hearing aids in might have contributed to this.

But shone through was the real musicianship of these boys, and the obvious hours, days and weeks of dedicated rehearsal time that must have gone into creating such sophisticated music and performance.

For once, something that young people really want was happening in Selkirk, and they responded; and showed how it’s possible to enjoy yourself on a night out without the fuel of alcohol.

Come back again, Frightened Rabbit, and tell your colleagues in the music business that there’s an audience waiting for them in Selkirk! JS