Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review: White Rabbits @ The Crocodile (6-22-2009)

White Rabbits Rocked the Croc

The White Rabbits have only one criterion for those who tour with them: have at least two drummers at all times. Kicking off Monday night's show at the Crocodile here in Seattle, the Feral Children brought the double thunder to the stage, splitting the percussion responsibilities between the lead singer and the actual drummer. I'm not sure if these guys just need to update their MySpace page or what, but I was pleasantly surprised with last night's performance. Lots of fast paced action and energy was brought to the stage by this Seattle quintet.

After the Feral Children's short set, The Subjects took the stage. Again, we were treated by dual-drummers for most songs. Even on songs where it appeared there would merely be a mono-rhythm section, band members from the White Rabbits occasionally graced the stage and provided some dual skin tapping (sounds dirty). The Subjects have this nice & light retro sound, especially the lead singer whose voice sounded reminiscent to a very young Bob Dylan at times. Much like the lead singer of Dr. Dog, his pipes are very distinct from most bands making music today. It definitely makes them an interesting listen, and they're stage performance got me to investigate their catalog after the show.

The Subjects played for nearly an hour, and then The White Rabbits entered the stage. They arrived with much more confidence than last time I saw them (opening for Spoon in 2008). Have these guys arrived? They sure seemed to carry themselves like they had, and the confidence that came with this self-awareness enhanced the show in so many ways. With such a strong debut album, you'd think that the band would use Fort Nightly as a crutch for all of their shows; however, these guys played nearly all new tunes from their latest album It's Frightening. Opening their set with "Rudie Fails," it was clear from the start that we were in for a real treat. I'm sure you've read all about how energetic a White Rabbits show can be, but until you actually witness one for yourself do you truly understand the validity of that statement. The White Rabbits are meant to be heard live; only then do you see how using two (and sometimes three) drummers can do wonders to your rhythm section. And let me point out too that the Crocodile's sound was superb as usual - it's still the best sounded venue in Seattle, hands down (in my opinion).

As soon as the first song ended, we were given a quick introduction and then immediately catapulted into "The Lady Vanishes." They really hit the mark on this one. I thought I liked the older ragtime version of "The Lady Vanishes" that they used to play on tour a year ago, but this song has evolved into a darker, groovier number. The band played around thirteen songs in total, and only three were from Fort Nightly. The Rabbits played all but one song from It's Frightening, and unveiled to us either a new one or a cover (I didn't recognize it) played "Foxhunting," an unreleased White Rabbits original. A set list is posted below, though I'm not entirely sure what the order of all the songs were. I'd have to say though that this was the best show I've seen this year. Highlights during the show include the oldie-but-goodie "The Plot," as well as the combination of "Lionesse" which seamlessly led into the crowd-favorite "Percussion Gun." If you get a chance to catch this live act in a city near you, it'd be most unfortunate if you missed it. Check out the White Rabbits, and if you haven't heard their newest album It's Frightening, you can stream the album in its entirety here. Also, pick up a copy through various vendors here.

Set list: (not in the exact order)
Rudie Fails
The Lady Vanishes
While We Go Dancing
Right Where They Left
They Done Wrong / We Done Wrong
Midnight And I
The Plot
Company I Keep
Percussion Gun
Kid On My Shoulder

The Salesman (Tramp Life)

Update: The encore opener was entitled "Foxhunting." Watch it performed live here.