(Los Angeles, California) The atmosphere under which The White Rabbits played the El Rey on Monday was almost too eerily perfect to be true: a full moon in the sky and a thick fog blanketing only the El Rey’s radius. Luckily, the festivities inside the building were just as perfect as their setting. Due to what I can only attribute to luck, my companion and I were given wristbands that granted us access to the balcony, allowing me to see the show from up there. It seems like a silly choice, especially since we arrived early enough to get a spot in the very front row, but for an avid concertgoer who is used to being sandwiched in between multiple people — usually ones who are taller than me and have no concept of personal space — the chance to enjoy a concert from the comfort of a padded chair is a welcomed respite.
First to the stage were Brooklyn-based band Glass Ghosts. With a sound that brought to mind the more ambient sides of Tokyo Police Club and Battles, the duo quickly won over the hesitant crowd. What really blew me away was lead vocalist and keyboardist Eliot Krimsky’s ability to play both the melodies and the harmonies on separate keyboards, all while singing. I don’t know how popular they are in New York, but if they’re not even a little famous in LA after their performance, I would be surprised.
After a brief interlude, the LA-based and clearly well-known Local Natives took the stage. They had harmonies that were definitely reminiscent of Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses, but the most memorable thing about the quintet was their passion. During the song breakdowns, each band member just took off into his world, pounding the drums and wailing on the guitars. It definitely brought a palpable feeling of excitement to the crowd, who began clapping in time with the music and even mustered up a few dance moves here and there. They mentioned their (debut) album Gorilla Manor would be dropping stateside sometime next year, and played a song from it. By the time Local Natives finished, cheers and applause filled the building and the growing audience crowded closer to the stage in anticipation of the headlining act.
Finally, eerie music began playing from the El Rey’s sound system and White Rabbits took the stage. The band settled into their positions and went straight into the music. As this was their last tour for their newest album, It’s Frightening, they played a handful of songs from it, including “They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong,” “Right Where They Left,” and “Rudie Falls,” as well as some songs from their last album, including “While We Go Dancing” and “Kid On My Shoulders.” I don’t know if it was the full moon that made the audience act strangely, or just the previous expenditure of energy from grooving out to Local Natives, but the crowd was, for the most part, not dancing. I had no idea why — the girl next to us up in the balcony was certainly moving, but what they lacked in physical vigor, they certainly made up with their clapping abilities. Luckily, the band managed to keep up their enthusiasm, despite a still audience, and proved that sometimes things that are frightening can be good. They can be very, very good.
White Rabbits' new album 'It's Frightening' is out now on TBD Records.