(Originally written for relix.com1)
Music Hall of Williamsburg
In parts of Great Britain, it’s said to be one month’s good luck to utter the phrase “white rabbits” at the start of a new month. And though their show let out at just 10:30 P.M. on Saturday night, Brooklyn-based White Rabbits likely granted a few show-goers some accidental good fortune as the band put on a noteworthy percussive-performance at the Williamsburg Hall of Music to kick off the last few ticks of June and the first of July.
If you’re already asking yourself what in the world of cut-off jeans sets White Rabbits apart from the myriad of other indie bands in the Williamsburg scene today, here’s the skinny: while the ‘Rabbits are vocally and lyrically all but indistinguishable from some others of their ilk (think Spoon’s Brit Daniels singing falsetto Cold War Kids sentiments), the band possesses a hearty rhythm section that sets them apart from the masses. Though their catalogue also contains its share of down-tempo numbers as well, the band is at its best when it’s shaking the floor.
And on Saturday night, that’s just what they did, thanks in no small part to drummers Matthew Clark and David Scalia, who replaced father-to-be Jamie Levinson for the second consecutive show. Supported by a smooth, front-and-center riff courtesy of bassist Rustine Bragaw, the drummer-duo pair brought the crowd to attention with the steady beat of Milk Famous opener “Heavy Metal” and later, the hard-hitting “Percussion Gun.” Despite his marginalized position on stage left, Clark demanded audience attention, flailing padded timpani mallets over his sparse drum kit with a tribal energy that proved infectious for many onlookers throughout the night.
The rest of the show, however, was business as usual. That is to say, the band performed faithfully reproduced fan-favorites (with the exception of a bass-heavy, almost pensive “Kid On My Shoulders” for the show-closing second encore), said their thanks and bade the audience adieu. And there’s nothing wrong with that, per se. But, drumming aside, there wasn’t a hell of a lot special about it, either. Granted, it was a free show and not a terribly packed one at that, but there was little to set the Rabbits’ apart from the number of other indie rock bands that have played the venue before them or will thereafter. And as six out of a multitude of musicians on just the blocks surrounding the Music Hall of Williamsburg, White Rabbits would do well to try something to make their live show stand out in any small way—even if that just means moving Clark to the front.