White Rabbits: Live Last Night

Live Last Night

There was a simple lesson to be learned from Tuesday night's White Rabbits show at the Rock and Roll Hotel: A little extra percussion goes a long way.

Almost every song the Brooklyn six-piece indie-rock band played during its sharp, succinct 50-minute set featured a little extra banging, whether it was bashing on a floor tom or shaking a tambourine or maracas. The insistent pounding helped establish a strong foundation. The songs rarely worked up to a frenzy, staying in fourth gear instead of accelerating to full-on rock mode. But that teetering on the edge gave standouts such as "Percussion Gun" and "Right Where They Left" a welcome tension. The lack of a big payoff was more rewarding than the expected release.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

Singer Stephen Patterson spent most of the set seated at a keyboard, and his playing there was also of a percussive nature; it was more repetitive plinking than rolling melodies. His smoky croon suggested a less over-the-top version of the Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser, and the Rabbits shared that band's sense of understated dynamics. Spoon was another obvious reference point, as both band's make rhythm a focal point of their sound. (Spoon's Britt Daniel produced the Rabbits' latest album, "It's Frightening.")

There was nothing ornate or elaborate about the Rabbits' performance. Compared to current buzz bands from its borough, the simple use of a second drummer is positively quaint. The songs grooved along, one seamlessly into the other. If the band gives off an air of detached cool on record -- sometimes more "detached" than "cool" -- that wasn't the case on Tuesday. It was all about the beat and that was enough to make the show a winner.

--DAVID MALITZ

By David Malitz |  June 3, 2009; 2:48 PM ET Live Last Night
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