IMAGE: Justin Kent
When Rabbits took the stage, four amps, two guitars and one drum set carried out the audience's sentence with music so loud—and so focused on its downbeat—it could not be ignored. Former Lion Fever drummer Kevin Garrison made faces that looked like he was either drowning or attempting to lift a car while beating the crash cymbal on every beat. Vocalists/guitarists Joshua Hughes (formerly of Sub Pop's decidedly not metal Pleasure Forever) and Seth Montfort assigned each beat a syllable as they sung in unison using demonic, Muppetlike voices. Four half-stacks of amps crowded the wall, successfully filling out the band's dual six-string sound. Bass guitar was hardly missed as the crowd of 50 looked on and nodded to the throb. And—considering I didn't realize that Rabbits doesn't have a bass player when I listened to its recent Sloth vs. Bees 7-inch—I'd say this effect comes across on record, as well.
But nowhere was this two-guitar trio better able to display its rare thickness than on "Burn, Sun, Burn," which came about halfway through the set. The song saw Hughes and Montfort simultaneously playing leads yet somehow maintaining a steady doom thunder. The pacing edged toward drawn-out as the end of the set approached, and a few yawns sprang up from the generally still-hypnotized onlookers. But the closer, "Bees," revitalized the show with a clear taste of Rabbits' humor: The lines "We are bees/ We fly as we please" were grunted in voices not unlike those from Green Jelly's "Three Little Pigs."
Tube had been redeemed. "Easter isn't a holiday people usually celebrate," Hughes told me after the set, "so we thought we'd do something fun."
Rabbits plays Sunday, April 15, with Yellow Swans at Rotture. 8 pm. $3. 21+.