Concert Review: White Rabbits, October 2009

White Rabbits – Live at the Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto

October 24, 2009


by Aaron Binder

It was a night of charm and sonic enjoyment, and White Rabbits must be charmers to have packed the Horseshoe Tavern on their first time in City of Toronto.  The crowd was actually quite diverse, young kids barely old enough for a 19+ show and people that almost tripled their age.  The common connection of the band held them all tightly together in head-bobbing action.

The band has been around for a few years now, and is currently touring off their second album, It’s Frightening, which was released in May.  Since dropping, it has become one of the hottest discs on the Indie scene.  National airplay on NPR, several well-known online radio shows, and a golden performance on Letterman, have garnered this New York group a sizeable following in a very short period of time.  Far from being a flavour of the month, they have managed to hold down gigs with Kaiser Chiefs and The Walkmen among other mainstays of the Indie scene.

Their reputation on the internet enabled them to pack the Horseshoe Tavern on a blustery Saturday night, and one of the first things that became apparent was that the percussion section involved one very talented drummer and a second, equally talented percussionist that was prone to fits of seizure-style, bombastic blasting.  They utilized the lethargic space given with not only two percussionists, but a keyboard, a two guitars and a bass player, in addition to a lot of sweat.

The music was classic upbeat, sonically fuelled Indie, but the difference is the size of the sound. With so many members on stage in constant action, it almost becomes a chore trying to pick out the individual instruments.  Nevertheless, it all managed to blend together nicely.  They may not have had a large catalogue of music from which to draw yet, but the songs were solid and there were only a couple that slowed down the set.

With so many musicians in the band it would become easy to rely on the size of the sound to get over with fans, and yet they managed to take an extra step. Sprinkled through many of their songs were breakdowns that tended to go from silent, whisper-like beginnings to huge blasts of sound. Seemingly, they have an inherent ability to turn it all around on a dime, cranking out bombastic songs that left any expectations completely by the side of the road.

As their set ended, they ripped off three of their ringers from It’s Frightening, ending it all with “Percussion Gun”, a song that has to be seen live (and not just on Letterman) to comprehend how raw and huge White Rabbits can sound.  The band have incredible talent, and if their showing at the Horseshoe Tavern is any indication, they will continue to pack venues in new cities and past tour destinations alike with fans young and old.


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