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White Rabbits, Dax Riggs Bring the Sticky Icky

Vocalist and guitarist Greg Roberts glistened with sweat as New York City’s White Rabbitstook the stage early Sunday morning. The difference in weather waspalpable — yesterday was cloudy and pleasant, but today was scorchingand humid. I thought I’d look ridiculous with my black Totes open toprotect me from the blazing heat, but it turns out I wasn’t the onlyone with that idea — scores of black dots sheltered sun burntconcertgoers across the softball fields of Grant Park, still a soggymess from the previous night’s rainfall.

Early-risers (alreadyswigging beer before noon), packed in to hear the Rabbits’ janglypianos and popping bongos, and songs like the island-tinged “Sea ofRum” and “The Plot”were instant crowd-pleasers. In any other weather audiences would bebopping and dancing along, but in this heat, the band was lucky thosepresent were enthusiastically rockin’ heads and raising hands to thesky. To all those Cold War Kids fans who packed thefar-too-small-for-them Citi Stage yesterday, you’d do well to catchWhite Rabbits the next time they hit town.

Over on the massive AT&T stage, roadies were setting up for Louisiana’s Dax Riggs, frontman of now-defunct Deadboy and the Elephantmen,who played Lollapalooza last year. More than one Pearl Jam t-shirtclothed the decent-sized crowd, and by this point, beers were readilyflowing. Clearly, this guy was from the Eddie Vedder school of rock.Riggs, emerging with his band of “black clowns,” rocked classic’90s-ish, blues tinged numbers “I Forgot I Was Alive” and “Demon Tiedto a Chair in My Brain,” plus retooled, supercharged versions ofDeadboy tracks like “I’m Already Dead.”

With his tight whiteundershirt, mangy shoulder-length hair, and similar voice, he couldhave been resurrecting a Vedder of the past. Themes of death (“let mewrite on the wall of death,” “living in suicide”) matched Riggs’stone-cold demeanor, and though he didn’t talk much, you better believehe got us all more psyched for Lolla’s capstone performance from PearlJam. ROBIN MONHEIT