Towards the end of the show, Fender treated fans to a stripped-back rendition of ‘The Modern Leper’, the opening track of Frightened Rabbit’s second album ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ (2008).
That studio record was reimagined by various artists in 2019 in memory of the Scottish band’s founding member and primary songwriter, Scott Hutchison, who died by suicide the previous year.
Fender’s version of ‘The Modern Leper’ featured the musician’s guitar technician Fraser Fulton, also of the Scottish band Midnight Ambulance.
Sharing a clip of the performance on their Twitter profile, the duo wrote: “Well that was cool. Check out Fraser ripping up the main stage @TRNSMTfest with the one and only @samfendermusic for a beautiful @FRabbits encore. No you’re crying.”
You can check out the videos below.
— Midnight Ambulance (@MN_AMB) July 9, 2023
Since the performance, Fender has taken to Instagram to share footage of the show, and celebrate the Tiny Changes charity, which offers support to those struggling with mental health. “Thanks for going wild in the rain TRNSMT,” he wrote. “We loved playing this cover… and would like to highlight the incredible work @tinychanges do to support the mental health of Scotland’s young people.”
The charity was founded in 2019, in memory of the band’s Scott Hutchison. Discussing the non-profit organisation with NME, Hutchison’s brother and Frightened Rabbit bandmate Grant explained how they wanted the musician’s character and personality “to be the drive of it, without too much focus on the end of his life.”
“Young people need a lot of help and attention, and it’s something that affects almost everybody,” said Grant. “Not every young person will suffer from poor mental health, but our approach is a preventative one. We want to give them the tools and the skills to deal with it, even when they’re at a point when they don’t need them.”
Following his death in 2018, NME’s Andrew Trendell praised Hutchinson for his ability to resonate with his fans, and his devotion to remain “unguarded in discussing the power of music on mental health”.
“We’ve lost a giant. He was such an amazing writer and such an amazing human being,” said Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie. “I think it’s been really wonderful to see in the tributes to him how much wider his music had gone than I’d ever really known. This music was as important to these people as it was to me.”
“Scott had this smile that just gave you hope and put a good slant on the day,” agreed Biffy Clyro’s Ben Johnston. “Scott was articulate but seemed to sum up the way that a lot of people in Scotland feel, but we don’t know how to say it. He was the voice of not only a generation, but a nation. I’ve just got so much love for Scott, for the band. It’s unquantifiable.”
In other news, last month, it was revealed that Hutchison’s family were set to release a book containing the late singer’s artwork and illustrations.
Titled Living In Colour: The Art Of Scott Hutchison, the project began in 2021, when Hutchison’s family and collaborators collected the late frontman’s lyrics and artwork together for the first time. The book arrives today (July 13) and can be ordered here.
Additionally, back in March, The Twilight Sad came together to share a live cover of Frightened Rabbit‘s ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ in memory of the frontman.
Last month saw Fender play two huge homecoming concerts at St James’ Park in Newcastle. In a five-star review of the second night (June 10), NME said that the “weekend will be a talked-about highlight in Sam Fender’s career for years to come”.
In the days running up to the gigs, a series of posters popped up close to the stadium, which appeared to tease Fender’s upcoming third album – the yet-to-be-announced follow-up to ‘Seventeen Going Under’ (2021).
Speaking to NME last September, the musician revealed that he’d already written a number of songs for his next record. He described the new music as “very pretty” with a strong “singer-songwriter” vibe.