White Rabbits, ICA, London
Tuesday 02 March 2010
Yeasayer are this year's Grizzly Bear, who were last year's Vampire Weekend. For every 12 months, it seems, there's a Brooklyn band on hand to enjoy the adulation of the critics and the loving embrace of the public. But as you're watching Yeasayer's wonderful new LP, Odd Blood, take its place in all the annual best-of lists come December, spare a thought for their fellow Brooklynite hipsters White Rabbits, whose presence on the scene remains curiously under-reported. White Rabbits' own sophomore effort, It's Frightening, may not be nearly as avant garde as Odd Blood, but is all the more fun for it.
From the unfathomably dark auditorium at the ICA, the six-piece labour admirably for the audience's approval. It's the final night of their UK tour and probably their biggest headline show here to date. The band's work ethic is remarkable: by the end of the set they all look ready to melt after expending so much energy on every number. They sweat profusely, swap instruments at will, and Matt Clark – one of the two full-time drummers – battles on despite a busted and bandaged hand, an injury presumably sustained during a particularly dramatic percussive incident.
Three of White Rabbits take vocal duties at various moments during the night, though the frontmen are keyboard player Stephen Patterson and guitarist Greg Roberts. Any band with more than one drummer is fine by this reviewer. But for a number of songs they push the boat out and have three people – fully half the band – bashing the skins. What characterises their live sound is its physicality; each deeply danceable track underpinned by the muscular percussion of multiple drums and Patterson's infectious piano riffs.
The set is filled with highlights, including the preposterously catchy "Kid on My Shoulders" and "The Plot", from their 2007 debut LP, Fort Nightly. The similarly ska-inflected It's Frightening features few low moments, and alongside the likes of "Percussion Gun" (which does exactly what it says on the tin) and the poppy "Rudie Fails" comes the more angular "Lionesse" and the Doves-like guitar looping of "The Salesman (Tramp Life)". There are some quieter tunes to hand, too, notably "Company I Keep" – which, with Patterson's languid vocal, sounds somewhat like one of Beck's acoustic ballads. It may yet be Yeasayer's year, but the night indisputably belongs to White Rabbits.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
- 5 Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Doctor Who series 8: Watch Peter Capaldi in new ‘Listen!’ teaser trailer
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace