White Rabbits, a six-piece rhythmically driven rock band hailing from Brooklyn, took over the Independent last night to showcase their new album Milk Famous. Boasting a cast of two drummers, a pianist, two guitarists, and a bassist (most of whom switch instruments throughout the night), the band masterfully commands their syncopated and tight sound. White Rabbits is largely known for its characteristic percussion-centric music, but audience members last night were given a show that indicates the band is moving in a slightly different direction.
Most fans would agree that It’s Frightening (2009) lifted the band into a grittier and more structurally chaotic faction of the indie rock genre. Having two drummers at your disposal lends itself to a rhythmically raucous and explosive musical identity. Produced by Britt Daniel, lead singer and guitarist of Spoon, the album pushed the band towards success and introduced them as one of the most innovative new indie rock groups. Their newest album Milk Famous which was released on March 6 of this year, was produced by Mike McCarthy (the producer for Spoon) and you can definitely hear his influence on White Rabbits.
While most of the set consisted of tracks off the new album, the crowd obviously favored “Salesman” and “Company I Keep,” both off It’s Frightening. The house was packed, and it’s no surprise why. White Rabbits have gained a big following after touring nationally with the Kaiser Chiefs, The Walkmen, Spoon, and Interpol.
Overall, they’ve begun to incorporate more effects and synths into their sound and rely less on their percussion section. In fact, their single “Heavy Metal” has almost no drums at all in the recording. But you cannot fully experience White Rabbits until you see them live. One of their drummers, Matthew Clark, is an animal on the drums – sometimes playing with two sticks and a maraca in one hand – and is one of the most entertaining live performers in the indie rock scene today. Lead vocalist Stephen Patterson is incredibly engaging as well, effortlessly jumping between guitar and piano.
They closed out the set with “Percussion Gun” with its swirling harmonies, intense warlike drumming, and soaring guitar riffs. A perfect example of what this band does best. As an encore they played “Rudie Fails,” further highlighting the fact that the crowd wanted more percussion heavy tracks. It’s refreshing to see such an exciting band experiment with new sound, but if you’ve got two drummers, use ’em.