Live Review: Hey!Rabbit at Subterranean in Chicago, IL

Material: Hey!Rabbit are a husband and wife duo who have recorded two EPs. In 2014, they also released a split with singer/songwriter
 J. The songs they perform come from these EPs, as well as previously unreleased material. While the instruments they play are atypical for a traditional rock club, their music has an unexpected edginess to it, sonically and lyrically.

Musicianship: Both Paul and Mary are singers, trading off between lead and backing vocals. Both are solid at the mic and play well on multiple instruments. Mary often alternates between the melodica, baby glockenspiel and singing all in the same song—sometimes at the same time.

The pair are talented musicians on their instruments of choice, and they openly enjoy what they are doing and have definitely found their own unique sound and niche.

Performance: “It Took Distance...To Move Forward,” was a strong start with its catchy melody. “Jak Se MOSH” continues in a similar pop-oriented vein with ukulele, melodica and charming vocal exchange. While there was energy during “CzechPoint,” there was something lacking, which could have been fulfilled by utilizing a full band. “And In About” was their most rockin’ tune. “Food Not Lawns,” with empowering lyrics, was a slight departure from their established sound with its harmonic dissonance, synthetic drum beat, keyboards and female lead vocals.

However, “Lena” continued in a similar lyrically deep, harmonically dissonant style, but this time there was a beautiful melody accompanied by a sparkling ukulele. For
 the final song, “#thehezkiest,” the duo sang introspective lyrics an octave apart, while Paul played the high register of the ukulele and Mary played the baby glockenspiel. It was a touching ending to a unique experience.

Summary: While Hey!Rabbit might initially seem to attract the hipster, millennial crowd, there is an unexpectedly wider appeal to their music. Their use of odd instrumentation coupled with interesting harmonies and melodies might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no doubting that it rocks.

Venue:  Subterranean
City: Chicago, IL
Contact:  [email protected]

Photo by Mary Lemanski