Harlem Shakes and White Rabbits played a sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom last night to an lively young crowd that contained a healthy mix of fans for each band. Harlem Shakes have been playing some big shows this year, including having opened for Tokyo Police Club at this same venue a few months ago. This exposure is well deserved, as they certainly command an audience’s attention with their engaging sound and high energy. Their formula may not be unique in a music world overstuffed with indie five-pieces who can write catchy songs, but what makes these guys stand out is that each individual lends something palatable to the band’s overall sound. Each member commands their own place in the loud blend, their individual parts delivered enthusiastically and easy to pick out from the mix. One really gets the idea that every member of the band is contributing something important if not crucial to the resulting sound. Brent the singer adds an especially noteworthy element to the band’s noise with his nasally wail that is as distinct as it is powerful.
After Harlem Shakes the crowd was adequately pumped for the main attraction, White Rabbits, who’ve been getting quite a bit of positive press for their recent album Fort Nightly. Indeed, the first few rows were stuffed with dancing cuties who mouthed the lyrics sweetly as if they’d had this album on repeat for years. White Rabbits have an excellent talent for creating catchy tunes with anthemic choruses perfect for singing along to. You can tell they’re serious about the music they play because their setup allows for certain intricacies and explorations many bands simply could not replicate. Simply put –they’ve got themselves two drummers. And, one of them played a few numbers with maracas instead of drumsticks. Now that’s entertainment. Another driving force is the clamoring saloon piano that drives the composition of the songs and gives the music a nice old-timey feel. They saved their party hit “The Plot” for almost the end of a set which thrilled the crowd and proved to be the highlight of the evening.