17 December 2007

White Rabbits @ Bowery Ballroom - 13 December

Last Thursday the New York concert gods played a mean trick on EAR FARM, forcing us to choose between one of our anointed "Top Ten Bands To Emerge in 2007" (White Rabbits @ Bowery) and one of our "Top Ten Bands to Watch Out For in 2008" (Le Loup @ Mercury Lounge). Tough decision, but it ain't 2008 just yet, and so the choice was made to check out the band that's been on our mind THIS year.

Good choice. And perhaps the last week of making nothing but declarative year-end lists has left me more hyperbolic than usual, but I'll just recklessly go ahead and say it: White Rabbits delivered a performance that made me want to go back and revise our top concerts of '07 to make room for one more (as it stands, they've already made three of our year-end lists, not bad slackers). Click below to keep reading and get your paws on some media (as of this posting the video is STILL uploading)...

So yeah, 2007 has been very kind to these guys, and it was fitting that their last show of the year felt more like a New Year's throwdown than a typical Thursday in December (see above photo for proof). Do you want to know the secret to throwing such an instant party? Two drummers!

Ahh yes, White Rabbits apparently don't espouse the idea that less is more - as a six-piece they resemble a corduroy-clad gang as much as a rock band - and the drumming duo of Jamie Levinson and Matt Clark are examples 1 and 1a. of their everything-but-the-kitchen sink approach. Rocking in frantic synergy throughout the set, these two formed a rhythmic backbone that lent each song an additional spark, pushing every beat with added urgency.

Elsewhere, the band's sharing of vocal duties resembled their attitude towards drumming, ie more is more. On their debut album Fort Nightly, the vocals sound doubled in many parts, a common procedure that I figured was just the lead vocalist recording over himself to create a lusher and fuller sound. Wrong. Turns out that guitarist Greg Roberts and pianist Steve Patterson both have what sounds to me like the same exact singing voice and use this to full advantage live, alternately doubling vocals or trading back and forth seemingly at random. This may seem unremarkable until you actually listen to their voices, which are a distinct variation on the nasally drawl of the Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser. That two people in the same band share such a unique and dynamic voice is pretty striking.

On record, their songs also hint at a loose playfulness that is given additional space live, again another benefit of having six members all locked in sync. The result is a staggering wall of sound that is somehow both intricately woven while recklessly delivered. In other words, as a live band White Rabbits are the intriguing nexus between the ethereal sound of the Walkmen and the raucous attack of Man Man. If that description sounds good, so does their live show.

Here's the setlist, courtesy of fellow peddlers in hyperbole NME:
Take A Walk Around The Table
Kid On My Shoulders
While We Go Dancing
Dinner Party
Untitled new song
Fort Nightly
Navy Wives
Sea Of Rum
Cotillion Blues
Tourist Trap
The Plot
Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan cover)
I Used To Complain Now I Don’t

See White Rabbits Live in the Ocho:
16 Jan - Pittsburgh, PA @ Diesel w/The Walkmen
17 Jan - Pontiac, MI @ The Crofoot Ballroom w/The Walkmen
18 Jan - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall w/The Walkmen
19 Jan - Madison, WI @ High Noon w/The Walkmen
20 Jan - Chicago, IL @ Schubas w/The Walkmen and White Denim
21 Jan - St. Louis, MO @ The Duck Room w/The Walkmen
22 Jan - Columbus, OH @ The Basement w/The Walkmen
23 Jan - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's w/The Walkmen
24 Jan - Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar w/The Walkmen

Watch: "While We Go Dancing" LIVE from this show - COMING SOON I PROMISE (we're experiencing technical difficulties @ EAR FARM HQ)

Visit White Rabbits on MySpace

6 comments:

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