As LA’s Pepper Rabbit took the Vera Stage on Sunday my first thought was here’s the classiest group I’ve seen at this section of the block party. Their performances matched their dress code as they ran through a short and sweet set of hazy indie pop. Cherishing the turnout, the boys in Pepper Rabbit interacted with the audience fondly and played with an equal dose of vigor and sensitivity.
Despite their small size -- a three piece -- the songs Pepper Rabbit created sounded clean and full. A waltz with heavy reverberation on the vocals here and a quick and punchy indie pop ditty there comprised most of the set. Any audience member listening to this band is probably immediately drawn to the vocals. They constantly float above the wave of bass and guitar offering a narration to their gorgeous sunken melodrama. With all this at the forefront, the drummer laid down sassy syncopated tom tom beats to add a subtly unusual edge to the band’s indie pop sound. The lead singer (and guitarist) often tweaked with some looping devices to harmonize over his own voice always resulting in a blissful vocal arrangement. He even busted out a clarinet and used the same mechanism to loop its brisk tone for background ambiance.
Towards the end they performed a new track unavailable on the recording. This was the highlight of the show for me, employing a more powerful guitar sound and entering the realm of dissonance occasionally. The chords stayed crunchy for its remainder as the vocals soared and the bass hypnotically grooved. With such polished playing and boldness of dynamics it was hard to believe that Pepper Rabbit just an unsigned band from Los Angeles. Their performance at Block Party definitely garnered more fans.