White Rabbits w/ Caveman & Magic Magic @ Paradise 2.24.11
by Chris Stoppiello (English), published March 22nd 2011
photos by Brian Cantrell (Graphic Design)
Never have I seen so many mismatched drums in one show. Percussion was definitely a prerequisite to get on this bill. What’s amazing is that despite this common thread, all three bands were distinctly different, and all good.
Up first was Caveman: a group of gentlemen from Brooklyn, NY with a great amount of respect for set times. Scheduled to begin at nine, the group was so kind as to hit the stage a minute or two early. Their style was very laid back and the percussion was often subtle and very well incorporated. The set began somewhat blandly, but about three songs in something really clicked. The band kicked in to ‘December 28th’ and every song that followed sounded like gold. Maybe they are a little hit or miss, but when they are on, it is absolutely fantastic. What struck me most about this band was how Caveman are able to achieve an extremely full sound all the while staying relaxed.
Next came Boston locals Magic Magic. The band came late and didn’t get to sound check, but sounded pretty kickass regardless. Whatever reason they were held up also prevented the band from thinking of any type of setlist. There was about a minute of dead air between each song as the band discussed amongst itself what to play next. This is the Paradise boys, think you could put a little thought in to it next time? But I would be selling them short if I only focused on their apparent rudeness. Their sound was unique. The screams and guitar work had a controlled fragility reminiscent of Cursive. The tempos and rhythms changed so often it reminded me of System of a Down’s self-titled release (albeit not quite as heavy). The only disappointment was the second percussionist whose parts could not be heard and did not seem to add much.
If Caveman opened the show in a relaxing meadow then headliner, White Rabbits, barreled through it with a freight train. I had not seen them since their opening slot at All Points West (R.I.P.) two years ago. Either the band suffered from being bottom rung at a festival then, or their sound has matured a lot, but everything was in much better balance than I remembered. This well-oiled machine began heavily with their debut album Fortnightly scattering some newer songs, such as ‘Company I Keep’ and the splendidly dark ‘Lionesse.’
The night was filled with building intensity, which came to the surface as White Rabbits exploded into their hit single ‘Percussion Gun,’ followed immediately by ‘Rudie Fails’. The energy was palpable and singer/pianist Stephen Patterson felt compelled to proclaim this as his favorite show they ever played. Spirits where still high as the band returned to the stage for ‘Kid on my Shoulders.’ Band and audience became one as everyone shouting the songs refrain, ‘We held our tongues throughout it/One day we’ll laugh about it.’ It was an intense show and all three bands are well worth your time.