Barge Favorite Rabbit in the Rye Releases First EP

The Barge Canal Coffee Company welcomed a full house for Rabbit in the Rye’s CD release party and concert on Saturday, April 13. The show opened with a performance by Lauren Mettler and commemorates the local band’s first studio EP.

Rabbit in the Rye, composed of guitarist Joe Mettler, bassist Alex Lavon and drummer Brendan O’Connor ’09, has been a staple at the Barge since their early beginnings as a group. The Barge was filled with students and villagers alike, eagerly standing and sitting to hear the band’s performance.

“I came back from grocery shopping and heard them playing,” senior Emily Blease said. “I don’t regret it.”

Few bands that play at the Barge have acquired the same level of admiration and devotion from fans that Rabbit in the Rye has, and their first EP has been much anticipated.

“We’ve spent two and a half months on the album,” Mettler said.

“We have a very forgiving audience here,” O’Connor said. “It’s good to try new stuff.”

From beginning to end, each song was met with extensive applause and cheers from the audience, making an extremely small venue feel much larger. The band straddles the line between quintessential American folk and contemporary blues with a superb mix of proverbial lyrics, pounding bass lines and creative drum beats that will keep you tapping your feet. Switching between acoustic and electric guitar and mandolin, the band has a sound that feels original, yet familiar at the same time. It is hard to ignore the unique presence the band has on stage as they sway and dance to the energy of their own creation. The band has a rare chemistry between its three members.

“Brendan and I played music together for 10 years,” Lavon said. “Then Brendan met Joe and told me to move up here.”

Each member builds off the other in a way that feels as if every song just came naturally to the three. Singing was shared between Mettler and O’Connor, but while each voice was unique, the music came from a single unit. It isn’t that each member isn’t talented in his own right, but on stage their collective force is greater than each on his own. It is no surprise as to why the band has so captivated its local fan base.

“It’s important to keep live music alive in Hamilton,” Barge night manager Susan Pasachnik said. “These guys are the best.”

“[The show] blew my socks off” masters student Britty Buonocore ’12 said.

With a few songs recorded, the band is already looking toward future projects.

“We’re going to keep touring, aiming to play some festivals and maybe get a full LP done by the end of the summer,” O’Connor said.