White Rabbits + The Holidays – Oxford Art Factory (05.01.10)


They’ve been keeping quiet for some time now, but Sydney outfit The Holidays are well and truly back for our listening pleasure. With 2 EPs under their belt, a shitload of touring behind them, and new single “Moonlight Hours” receiving a good amount of airtime, The Holidays are finally ready to launch into a territory that few local bands make it to: releasing a debut album. And that’s exactly what they’re gearing up for, tonight performing entirely new tracks (including “Moonlight Hours”) for the eager hometown crowd. As lead singer Simon Jones digressed, however, “please be kind”… as these were some of the first times the songs had been played live.

The tracks are certainly a step above what we’d gotten used to from the Sydney five-piece, and it almost feels like a completely new band as a result. Some tracks worked, some didn’t – but such is the nature of exploring content outside of your comfort zone. “Big on the reverb”, Simon and co. provided the crowd with an all around enjoyable set – and for those tracks that have yet to evolve in the live setting, the potential is certainly there, so there’s definitely no question they’ve got the goods.

Of particular mention was their final number – a track which opened with bongos, and maintained a strong drum presence throughout. A truly solid track, a perfect send off, and a apt prelude to the heavy drum presence that White Rabbits would maintain throughout their entire performance.

By the time the New York six-piece crowded the Oxford Art Factory stage, the venue had well and truly packed out, full of fans eager to see the band in their debut (and well overdue) Sydney performance. Much to this reviewers approval, they didn’t disappoint in the slightest – they are an INCREDIBLY tight live band, who have their tunes down to a t. The fact they have someone who actually knows how to mix, too, assisted immensely. When you’ve got 2 (sometimes 3) drummers, 2 vocalists, 3 guitars, keyboards … it would be too easy for the sound to come out muddled and become lost in the surrounds. Thankfully, such was not the case tonight.

The setlist was a good mix of tracks off of It’s Frightening and Fort Nightly – And I don’t think anyone would have left disappointed, hearing plenty of their favourites in the process. “Lionesse”, “Percussion Gun” (a perfect closer for the main set), “Kid on my Shoulders” and “The Plot” were personal highlights – all a part of the show which showed off a band with immense talent – from when the pen first hit the paper, all the way to the recording studio, and then back to the main stage. One day this band is going to be massive – so I feel privileged to have been able to see them in the wonderful, intimate environment that is the Oxford Art Factory.

Oh, and having 3 people bash out on drums during “Percussion Gun”?
… let’s just say that I’m already looking forward to their next appearance on our shores.

White Rabbits Setlist:
Rudie Fails
While We Go Dancing
Company I Keep
Chevy (Right Where They Left)
Kid on my Shoulders
Dinner Party
Midnight and I?
The Plot
Percussion Gun

The Lady Vanishes
The Salesman (Tramp Life)

Note: I pieced this together from my memory of it, alongside one of the setlists on the stage. On it, they used one word titles, often not part of the original song titles – as such, I’m unsure what “Fox” and “Ethio” refer to. Can anyone help me out on that one? I’m thinking maybe “Tourist Trap” and “March of the Camels” respectively, but I’m not sure… email [email protected] if you know!

Photo Gallery by Annette Geneva, exclusively for the AU review

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.