Saturday, June 8, 2013

Kitten- Feral and Fearless at the Jubilee Music and Art Festival - 6/7/2013 - LIVE SHOW REVIEW

Yes, I had heard the buzz about Chloe Chaidez and her alter ego / band Kitten since 2010 but this is the first time I have seen them live and this introduction will be seared in my brain for quite a while. I was already a fan of their music which (to me) is this amalgam of 80's style synth filled new wave, light shoe gaze, arena rock and dream pop all fused together in their own way but the live energy they exhibited in an old brick building at the Jubilee Music and Art festival was nothing short of explosive. The band was tight, confident but playing it loose at the same time. The long melodic leads shifted into a sonic wall of sound as the lead guitarist deftly fanned his dirty pearly notes. Lush synths, bottom heavy bass and heavy drums bounced sweetly off the walls.

Chloe as the bands teen provocateur was energy personified. Dressed in a spandex leotard thingy with a kind of tropical shirt on, she left her shoes offstage and stalked, pranced, gyrated, danced and climbed every square foot of the stage area. The building that looked like it was circa 1940 had a section that dropped down to a much lower level. The stage was built on that lower level and the audience barricade was kind of the demarcation between the two levels so if you were to fall off the stage you would drop down probably 12 feet to the concrete. At one point, Chloe fearlessly climbs a large speaker cabinet AND two additional mid range speakers that sat upon it. Mind you, this is at the edge of an elevated stage. The drop from her precarious perch was dangerously high. The stacked speakers were not strapped and wobbled. Falling would of been like jumping out of a two story window. The rock fan in me was like "FUCK YEAH" but the father in me was thinking "CHILD- get your ass down from there!"- Thankfully, she made it down ok and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I bring up Chloe's daring do (that should only be left to a Cirque du Soleil acrobat) because it is an example of how much of herself she puts out there on that stage. She is a wild child with a rock and roll chops, a somewhat pop sensibility and a punk rock heart (which might be in her musical DNA as her dad is Mike Chaidez from the infamous late 70's East LA punk band - Thee Undertakers).  Vocally and physically, she is able to shift from a masculine rock stance to her feminine side easily from song to song or within a song. As I said before the entire band kills it. As I reveled in their performance I thought of different older bands like Blondie, Interpol, Styx (for some odd reason*) and Roxette as well as current bands like Paramore, Cat Power, Cults and Future Islands.

Easily, one of the best performances of Day One of the Jubilee Music and Art Festival, if you have not seen them YOU HAVE to see Kitten live in all their unfettered non compressed sonic glory. Do it soon when you can afford to see them. Once they blow up and it will be before you know it, those ticket prices are going to blow up too.

*Note: I have been getting some flack for the Styx comment. First of all, the bands I listed are not meant to suggest that any of them sound like Kitten, they were just bands that popped into my head after hearing Kitten's awesome set. I don't know why I thought of these bands, especially Styx. Reflecting back there might of been dramatic drums during Kitten's set that made me think of a drum break in some Styx song or something like that. In any event, Kitten has left an indelible mark on my music psyche and that is a good thing. I just got back from the second day at the Jubilee Fest and actually saw Chloe there. I very much wanted to say hello and intended on doing so but at the last minute I felt very uncomfortable because she was talking to some other people and I didn't want to invade her privacy. So Chloe if you happen to read this and you saw a guy in a green t-shirt with camera bag in tow, that was me. Gotta get some sleep, been a long day!

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