Live Review: White Rabbits at the Casbah, March 29, 2012

Photo credit: Derrick Santini

Brooklyn indie-rock band White Rabbits took over the Casbah on Thursday night for a sold-out, energetic performance.

Though a one-man band, opener Gull (aka Nathanael Rappole) was not your typical weekend street-show act. The crowd was mesmerized as Rappole mastered guitar tapping with his left hand while frenetically drumming with his right over looped guitar riffs, all while singing delayed vocals through a mic’d up papier-mâché mask. Gull played with a relentless energy redolent of Rush and Fugazi, and the result was really something to behold.

White Rabbits took the stage at just about 10:30 p.m., leading off with “Heavy Metal” and “I’m Not Me.” The six-piece packed a lot of power, featuring two percussionists, two guitars, a bass, and piano. The tiny Casbah stage didn’t provide nearly enough space for the group as they powered though their characteristically percussion-heavy songs.

The setlist was mostly gleaned from the band’s new album, Milk Famous, but lead singer Stephen Patterson belted out older songs as well, including “The Salesman,” “They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong,” and “Rudie Falls.” For the encore, White Rabbits performed their best-known song, “Percussion Gun.” The militaristic drumming paired with piano-backed harmonies sent the crowd into a frenzy.

White Rabbits have generated such a loyal following for a reason: they really lock into a groove when playing and jamming in front of a packed house. Their songs flow effortlessly into one another, and their sound is clearly evolving (as evidenced by their use of synths in place of percussion on some songs). The band is more rhythmic, fun, innovative, and energetic than ever, and seem well on their way to becoming a big, successful act.

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