A few songs into the White Rabbits show at the Black Cat last night, it became clear something was off: The singing of Steve Patterson and Greg Thomas was dead on. The smitten young crowd was swaying and shaking their heads along to “While We Go Dancing” and “March of the Camels” as if on cue. And the band, sporting Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson T-shirts instead of its usual dapper attire, seemed happy enough to be playing. But one look at bassist Adam Russell and we knew better: The guys were faking it.
We don’t blame the band for feeling confined by the material—after all, Fort Nightly is more than a year old—and the last thing we were expecting was a play-the-record-from-start-to-finish concert. But how about playing some new songs or, at the very least, new covers, no? Some crazy instrument swapping, perhaps? Hell, we would have taken a quick guitar or drum solo in between songs. Instead, what we got was a concert bereft of the electricity and fun that made us White Rabbits believers in the first place.
It was as if the band had gone from channeling Interpol's dark mood in some of its songs to imitating said band’s blasé attitude onstage. Against our will, we found ourselves nodding in agreement when a less-than-impressed friend whispered “lame” in our ear. And she’s a bigger White Rabbits fan than we are!
This time around, we were left hoping the guys hit the studio and crank out some new tunes pronto. If “Fox Hunting”—the only new track we can recall from last night’s show—is any indication, the band still has plenty of fire left. It just needs to find the spark again.