Something Fierce 

Fierce Bad Rabbit
9 p.m. Saturday Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewing Company
50 Penn Place
www.belleislerestaurant.com 
840-1911

As most bands will tell you, there’s a lot riding on a name. It can help make you (The Who) or break you (Hoobastank). For Fierce Bad Rabbit, settling on one was much the same struggle, before finding inspiration in a children’s character.

“(Lead singer Chris Anderson) suggested Andy Christ and the Good News, and for some reason, that one didn’t stick,” bassist Dayton Hicks said. “We booked our first show under the name Chris James and the Velveteens, but a couple of days before, I was sitting at a friend’s place that had a figurine of the Fierce Bad Rabbit brought to her by her father from a recent trip to London. I suggested it, and we all agreed it was a keeper.”

The figurine was modeled from the 1906 children’s book, “The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit” by Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter, about a particularly naughty bunny who is punished for his misdeeds by having his tail and whiskers shot off by a hunter. Not that it matters, as it has nothing to do with this Fort Collins, Colo.-based quartet, which plays Saturday at Belle Isle Brewery.

“Does any band’s name really relate to what they’re doing? Does Radiohead really wear radios on their heads? I don’t think The Killers kill ... maybe they do,” Hicks said, laughing.

Other than playing a particularly bouncy brand of indie pop, the group has little in common with rabbits, and is hardly fierce or bad, but it is light, fun and exciting.

“Fierce Bad Rabbit seems to really intrigue people,” said violist and vocalist Alana Rolfe. “It offers a fun and positive vibe that I think people really react to it by singing along, smiling, laughing, dancing — all the things you want in a good night out.”

The band was born from several prominent Northern Colorado acts, with its members striving for a simple sound à la Arcade Fire or Modest Mouse. It’s a less intensive project for some of them, like Rolfe, chief songwriter for Stella Luce. In Rabbit, she can unwind in the music instead of steering it.

“I’m free to relax and play my role,” she said. “It’s fun to find where I can complement the song just right.”

The supergroup approach has benefited all involved, providing a loose creative outlet and breeding ground for ideas that don’t fit into their original projects, equaling a distinctive, sometimes merry, sometimes melancholy take on the loaded indie-pop spectrum.

Fierce Bad Rabbit has quickly bred a fiercely loyal following in Denver while slowly making tracks from Seattle to Oklahoma City and in between, in support of its “Spools of Thread” release.

The act isn’t taking the tortoise method in spreading its music nationwide, as drummer Adam Pitner noted, so maybe there is a little rabbit in there.

“We want to go to the top,” he said, “We would like to tour in front of some great bands, make another record and, if possible, take over the world.”

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Joshua Boydston

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