White Rabbits | 10.27.09

live_white-rabbits_sm.gifWhite Rabbits bounded on stage and the packed club went wild.

 The Firebird, St. Louis

2009 has been a good year for White Rabbits. The Brooklyn-based indie-rock sextet released their second album, It’s Frightening, in the spring, to critical acclaim and relative commercial success. The day that album was released, they performed a fiery version of the album’s thundering single, "Percussion Gun," on Late Night With David Letterman. They’ve been touring relentlessly throughout the year, playing venues of varying sizes, including several festival appearances that have exposed them to large and diverse audiences. And on Tuesday, October 27, White Rabbits, who include members native to St. Louis and who first formed in Columbia, came home (for the second time this year) to rock the Firebird.

Following two opening acts, White Rabbits bounded on stage and the packed club went wild. Most bands seem to enjoy playing live; from the start, it was obvious that this band lives for it. The ritualistic interplay of crowd and music and the energy that flows between them and drives both in a feedback loop of ever-increasing power was palpable in the smoky darkness of the Firebird. By the set’s second song, the chunky, driving "Rudie Fails," the crowd was undulating like a wave and the band was joyfully working hard and pouring sweat.

From there the set stretched out for more than an hour, with emphasis on songs from It’s Frightening. Stephen Patterson and Greg Roberts, pianist and guitarist respectively, and co-vocalists, combined their voices in seamless harmonies, particularly on "They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong." White Rabbits’ unique personnel setup allowed drummer/percussionist Matt Clark to roam the stage for much of the set, punctuating each song with jabs of percussive emphasis around Jamie Levinson’s pounding backbeat. The set closed with "Percussion Gun" and then the band returned for a two-song encore—"The Lady Vanishes" and "The Salesman (Tramp Life)"—before leaving the stage, clearly exhausted and energized simultaneously. After this rocking show, the crowd felt the same way. Welcome home, White Rabbits. | John Shepherd

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