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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

LastNight: White Rabbits, Murder of Lilies at Cafe Du Nord

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2007 at 10:57 AM

click to enlarge whiterabbits8.jpg
White Rabbits June 11, 2007, Café du Nord Better than: Little Baobab, and less sweaty. Download: “Kid on My Shoulders”

After impressive reviews of their debut album, Fort Nightly, White Rabbits, a Missouri-bred sextet, has already more-or-less leaped into Indie Rock Stardom (or Pitchfork notoriety, whatever that means). I admittedly went to the show with high hopes, anticipating one of those rare intimate performances fans reminisce about for way too long. But things didn't work out that way -- tensions seemed high, morale seemed low, and only a handful of fans showed up for the evening.

It all started with local new-wavers Murder of Lilies, who opened with the upbeat “600 Ways.” At its best, the black-clad band sounded like the Cure (judge for yourself here), but at its worst, their songs seemed stagnant and machinelike.

Post-Murder, the Rabbits got off to a shaky start with their catchy “While We Go Dancing.” They didn't set up properly (either that or they were drunk), and things were a little awkward -- Steve Patterson, doubling on keyboard and vocals, stumbled while readjusting his falling mike, and the band continued throughout the show to ask the sound tech to adjust levels. Maybe that was the house's fault, or maybe things were just off. Near the end of the night, vocalist Greg Roberts said, “This is just one of those shows where everything goes wrong.”

But it wasn't that bad. In spite of everything, the Rabbits pulled off an amazing performance of “Kid on My Shoulders,” and, to be fair, they just released their debut three weeks ago. And it was a Monday night. Things could've been worse.

For one thing, they're headlining the US leg of a tour for which they were set to open. The Rabbits will make stops in LA and Denver before joining the Mystery Jets in the UK (where the British prog rockers were detained due to visa issues). Keep updated with their blog for more info.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: The band formed in my college town, Columbia, Missouri.

Random Detail: Spoon's Britt Daniel made an appearance at the Portland show, but was nowhere to be seen last night.

By the way: The band will play in LA tonight and tomorrow. Catch them there if you missed it.

-- Liz Iverson

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Matt Stroud

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