The Kaiser Chief’s recent cancellation of their U.S. tour has left their opening act White Rabbits (pictured, at the recent Lollapalooza) with a lot of unspent energy. This certainly explains their performance at a sold-out show at Manhattan’s Beacon Theater last Saturday, in which their urgent, unbridled enthusiasm all but upstaged the headliners. (Norwegian jumpsuiters Datarock also gave a high-octane, if under-appreciated, performance).
The six lads mostly played tracks from their debut album Fort Nightly. The second song from their set, "Kid on My Shoulders," rocked the Beacon like a shipwrecked liner at sea, anchored by the band’s two — and, sometimes, three — drummers. Pianist and vocalist Steve Patterson plunked away on a slightly out-of-tune piano, sounding sinister while seesawing favorites like "Navy Yard" and "The Plot" to a dissonant chorus that reached deafening, timbre-busting highs. The audience — at least, the girls to my right, who mouthed along to their every word — ate up every dark, calypso-tinged hook. Suddenly the 2,600-seat theater — which guitarist/vocalist Greg Roberts compared to “a massive swimming pool” — seemed hardly big enough to contain the richness of sound pouring from the stage.
That’s troubling, considering the Missouri-raised boys all live and practice with each other in their Bushwick, Brooklyn loft. (Love those guys, but wouldn’t want to be their neighbors!) A new album will "definitely come out in a few months," the twenty-somethings told me backstage after the show. They looked tired, cramped together in a room without enough chairs, but appeared to be pretty used to it. "It’s a natural progression. We learned how to play the songs together, then a sound developed live." If Saturday’s performance is any indication of where this buzz-band is going, I’m guessing that it’ll be very, very good.
With the 2007 CMJ Music Festival (where the Rabbits debuted last year) hitting New York in two weeks, what bands will you be looking forward to hearing and telling your friends about?