Blac Rabbit Showcases Delightful Beatles Covers


Photo by Yonce Hitt

Amiri and Rahiem Taylor, twin brothers and musicians from Rockaway Beach, Queens, performed covers of Beatles music at the Cat in the Cream Wednesday night.

Thanks to the excellent music and good vibes of Blac Rabbit, a self-described psychedelic rock band beloved for their covers of Beatles songs that performed at the Cat in the Cream Wednesday night, all my thoughts about the cold, my homework, and my Cat in the Cream cookie melted away for 45 minutes, replaced by a sense of celebration, admiration for the band’s excellence, and pure musical fun.

Blac Rabbit, a band from Rockaway Beach, Queens, was formed by identical twin brothers Amiri and Rahiem Taylor. They taught themselves how to play guitar and bass, and started off performing in the New York City subways — earlier this year, The New York Times went so far as to suggest that they are “maybe the best Beatles cover band ever.” They have recently gained momentum through YouTube videos of both covers and their original music.They also recently released their first EP, Blac Rabbit, and appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Wednesday night’s show was one stop on their first tour, and for their visit to Oberlin, the band focused on their iconic, effervescent Beatles covers.

From the beginning of the show, I noticed that the Taylor brothers were incredibly deft in both their singing and their playing. Sometimes, bands can drown themselves out at the Cat in the Cream so listeners can’t understand a word they sing or hear some of the nuances of the music. That was not the case for Blac Rabbit. They jumped right in, and the audience could hear every word and enjoy all the subtle guitar picking. If you didn’t know Amiri and Rahiem were twins at a glance, you could definitely tell by their playing and singing. They harmonized wonderfully with each other, and their guitar and bass playing were perfectly synchronized. Their voices sounded almost exactly like Lennon and McCartney on the original Beatles albums.

As the concert went on, the crowd became livelier, and this energy fed into the performance. Blac Rabbit encouraged the audience to clap and sing along to favorites like “We Can Work It Out,” “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” and “Help!” They joked around between songs, teasing one another, asking the audience, “Anyone play harmonica? We need a harmonica for this one,” and even putting on a fake British accent. The Taylors picked the catchiest, most upbeat Beatles songs they could, and there were absolutely no downer tracks in their set — unless love songs make you lonely. I, along with the rest of the audience, couldn’t help but tap my feet and clap along with the beat. I even noticed one person singing along and dancing in their seat for nearly every song. This is something the band encourages: “Come and sing along — we’re nice guys,” Amiri once said in an interview.

The only complaint I could possibly make is that the performance was too short. I was genuinely enjoying myself until the very end, and I was disappointed that they did not perform longer. Otherwise, it was an absolutely fantastic show. I enjoyed Amiri and Rahiem’s banter with each other and the audience as much as I enjoyed the ebullient energy that they brought to their music. I enjoyed every second of the performance.

“Our campus is the New York subways, but if I could pick any other campus, this would be the one,” the Taylors said after the concert, and they also expressed their hope that they would come back to Oberlin later this year. Since they seemed to enjoy their visit and performing in Oberlin as much as the audience did, this reviewer certainly hopes that Amiri and Rahiem get their “ticket to ride” back to Oberlin soon.