Review: Blue Rabbit at Hotel Utah, Nov. 15
November 21, 2008
Written by Carlos Cisneros
Bands with numerous members are always intriguing. Makes one wonder what occurs during a recording session for a band like The Arcade Fire which consists of violinists and trumpet players. How does one even start to compile and gather so much musical talent into one large group in order to commence creative outflow? In comes Blue Rabbit to answer some of the questions that spring from my curiosity. According to their bio, “Blue Rabbit is a band on the Bjork side of Arcade fire.” I concur, and they definitely showcased that side at Hotel Utah in San Francisco for their CD release party.
Blue Rabbit demands attention, and when a harpist, cellist, and three girls who harmonize extremely well line up the stage, you can’t help but be completely immersed in their music. The song to open their set was a new one, not found on their CD, which is why they plan to take some time off to record. As Kebin Weber (drums) hit every area of his drumset in splendid rhythmic fashion, Arami Reyes and Sarah Rocklin, vocalists and fellow tambourine-shakers and cowbell players, danced in place and created three levels of vocal layers with Heather Anderson (songwriter and vocalist) on the spot as Timothy Galida banged on the keys and Kristin Harris (cellist) and Eah Herrin (celtic harp) added a subtle string element to the entire set. Heather explains how it all came to be.
“I wanted to play with other people, so I tried to start a band by posting an ad on craigslist. A few people replied, but they all ended up disintegrating prior to an actual meeting happening. Then I saw a drummer’s ad. That was Kevin Weber. We went to his old practice space and I sang him some stuff a cappella. He followed me on the first try so well it blew my mind.” After some time Heather decided it was time to add more layers of creativity to the band and found ten girls that wanted to sing. Many of them quit or parted ways, so now the vocals spring from a lovely trio. Originally, Heather would “come in with finished songs and teach them like a choir director, and the girls would build upon the original melody or harmony ideas with their own. Now, once we’re at practice, it’s more of a creative free-for-all.”
The free-for-all sessions definitely come through and translate live very well. The entire band synchronizes all instruments and vocal chords at all the precise moments to create a wonderfully layered piece of music. Although the comparison to Bjork is rightfully deserved, I like to describe them as The Arcade Fire plus Bjork with a nice hint of harmonies reminiscent of The Mamas and The Papas and Simon and Garfunkel. Throw in a whole lot of awesome drumming and you have Blue Rabbit. The band will be playing more shows locally in January, so keep an eye on their MySpace page.