Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Triple shot of indie rock hops over to Noho

By Dave Mansfield

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Packing a percussive sound that separates them from their indie rock colleagues, White Rabbits will be stopping by the Pearl Street Clubroom in Northampton on Tuesday, Oct. 20. On the heels of their sophomore release, “It’s Frightening,” the talented six-member group has launched a fall tour and will be joined on this date by fellow Brooklyn based indie rockers Suckers and Glass Ghost.

The core of White Rabbits formed at the University of Missouri in 2004. Frontman and pianist Stephen Patterson and guitarist Gregory Roberts had known each other throughout college. The last member to join, Jamie Levinson, played in a ska band with Roberts during high school.

After their 2007 full length debut “Fort Nightly” met with favorable reviews, White Rabbits decided to switch gears a bit, switching to TBD Records from Say Hey Records and enlisting the help of Spoon frontman Brit Daniel for production of their new release.

White Rabbits and Spoon have become quite chummy over the years, and Daniel’s influence can really be felt on this album. The low register piano stylings of frontman Stephen Patterson may seem akin to the track “The Beast and Dragon Adored” off of Spoon’s lp, Gimme Fiction.

“It’s Frightening” leads off with the single “Percussion Gun,” which really sets the tone for the entire album as percussion laden and groove oriented. The song, which they have played on David Letterman and produced a music video for, features the band’s two percussionists, Matthew Clark and Jamie Levinson, pounding away at tenor drums in an energizing rhythm that is almost militaristic in quality. The group makes full use of their two drummers throughout the album, and their emphasis on percussion and rhythm is what makes them so unique.

The fabric of White Rabbits music usually begins with Patterson’s left hand piano, which serves as the backbone to many of their repetitive and catchy themes. Patterson’s vocals are quite diverse, as he is able to pull of an eerie and harrowing sound on “Lionesse,” then sound soothing on mellow on tracks like “The Company I Keep.” Patterson is complemented well by the rest of the ensemble, as bassist Brian Betancourt and guitarists Gregory Roberts and Alexander Even all sing back up vocals and display a pretty acute sense of harmony.

The album ends on a murmur, punctuating an otherwise loud and energetic work; the final track, “Leave it at the Door,” presents some particularly sensitive and sustained vocal harmonies.

White Rabbits have been noted for putting on quite a live performance. At South by Southwest 2008, a new media conference that features a music festival for upcoming artists, they were named one of the top three live performances by the famous British musical tabloid NME.

The show, which is being advertised as a “Brooklyn indie rock triple shot,” will kick off at 8:30 p.m. in the clubroom. Tickets are $13 at the door. For more information, visit

Dave Mansfield can be reached at [email protected]

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