Words by Audra Tracy | Photos by David Turcotte
Strange things were afoot at Webster Hall in New York City on April 12th. Once inside the Lower East Side nightclub, you could hear the war cries of GULL echoing through the rafters. From downstairs, it sounded like a metal band was hosting a séance of sorts.
Turns out, the opening act for Brooklyn-based indie rockers White Rabbits was just one superbly ambidextrous dude in a mask. With a drumstick in one hand and an electric guitar in the other, GULL definitely had everyone’s full attention during his set of dark, primal sounds.
But the people were here to see White Rabbits, who stopped at Webster Hall to promote their third LP Milk Famous (TBD Records). Together Stephen Patterson (vocals, piano), Alexander Even (guitar, vocals), Matthew Clark (drums, percussion), Jamie Levinson (drums), and Gregory Roberts (vocals, guitar), and Rustine Bragaw (bass) took the stage at 9PM holding Coronas – and wearing their game faces.
After a quick wave to the crowd, The Rabbits cut right to the chase with track one, ‘Heavy Metal’. While their first two albums were of the alt-pop persuasion, Milk Famous finds White Rabbits in the ‘Radiohead period’ of their career, and that ominous vibe carries over to the stage. Glitchy, distorted underworlds of manic drum beats and menacing tones hugged the walls of the Hall during newbies like ‘Are You Free’ and ‘Back for More’.
Milk Famous made up most of the set, but older songs like ‘Lionesse’ featured the most balls-out, high energy jams of the night. Patterson performed with his whole being, kicking his black skinny jeans up in the air with each note sung from his gut. Clark was double-fisting drum sticks and shakers on the turbo-charged set closer ‘Percussion Gun’, a hit off 2009’s It’s Frightening that literally had the floor shaking along in approval.
For a young American rock band playing in such a heathenish city, White Rabbits were very well behaved during their headlining set. Some bands in this position might seize the opportunity for reckless rock n roll conduct, but on this night, all that brimming testosterone was channeled into the preciseness and poise of true professionals. With manners like these, White Rabbits should steer clear of Celebrity Rehab for at least a few decades.
Are You Free
The Salesman (Tramp Life)
I’m Not Me
Back for More
While We Go Dancing
The Day You Won the War
They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong
I Had it Coming
Danny Come Inside
Kid on My Shoulders
TheWaster.com | New York City