White Rabbits, Dire Wolfe: O2 Academy, Liverpool


Far from dire, Liverpool’s new kids on the block are leaders of the pack.

Only yesterday I questioned just how well off the city was. Posing questions to yet another of the Pool’s artistic spawn seemingly rising to the top of the creative pond – I had to stop and ask – is it really this good?
Reading Bido Lito! – easily Liverpool’s finest digestible bus-train-pass-the-time-away literature for quite some years – it’s easy to get lost in the superlatives and hyperbole attached with this on-going renaissance.
So much doing, so much loving. Where’s the balance?
One look at their Inside Pages Festival and all seems so right at home. So much so, we’re almost saddling up to wanton disagreement before Dire Wolfe take to the stage.
Yup, we saw you, albeit briefly at Liverpool Sound City. Yup, we thought you were remarkably fine – despite it being a 15 minute an-we’re-outta-here type of affair. Yup, we got the Mathew St Fringe Festival CD and thought your track was the best one on there by a countrymile. Nope, we’re not gonna drop to our knees and suck the proverbial.
One minute and 23 seconds later and we’re glowing. FUUUUUUUUUUCKERS. They’re really that good.
All chk-chk-chk, stop-start clatter with Tarek Musa leading the charge behind his nominal kit which transforms into a wrecking machine as Dan Croll and Joe Wills exchange hefty hooks, deft intricate fret work and a cocksure gleefulness.
Six-string chimes trade with thick slabs of crunching geetar thwacks and all the while Musa dictates a relentless pattern of ridiculous percussive manoeuvres.
They drop their strongest song midset – Gloria – pitched half way between their aggro-mathrock and a harmony-led singsong; both brittle and pummeling, it’s a mini masterpiece in emotive longing complete with it’s ‘you could be so much more alive, if you lived your life like a dragonfly,’ refrain.
Elsewhere they excel in thunking malevolent grooves (Associate), corking fusion instrumental passages mixed with yelps and pockets of vocal soars – only diluting their set with a needlessly throwaway Topshop indie-pop number next to last (Forests) which deflects from a short and almost faultless set of cerebral psychopop which will have your head banging but leave your heart tugging.
White Rabbits, meanwhile, chug-chug-chug to a stand still like a Sunday on Birmingham New Street.
What begins as a welcome beat-up propulsion of three-way guitars – all ripped retro blues drone and two-part drum clatter with added tamborine – slowly melts into a haze of fuzzy Americana-kraut monotony before fading into one-long fizz of mildly annoying, dreary nothingness.
We’d carry on this train-wreck of an anology but I’m afraid we’ll miss our stop. Toot, toot.

Dire Wolfe: Gloria