I see three to five shows a week ever since I moved to Los Angeles in 2014 – many of them multiple times. One of my favorites, Los Angeles synthpop group Kitten, headlined two nights at The Roxy this past weekend.
I hadn’t seen Chloe Chaidez and her band live since dropping their Heaven Or Somewhere In Between EP last year. Since then, she’s buzzed all of her hair off – which makes her look just a bit older than her 22 years of age.
The band kicked off their set with a medley of George Michael’s “Father Figure” and “Careless Whisper” – few are as adept at cover songs as Kitten, and they didn’t waste any time knocking one out. Though her demographic may not be overly familiar with the late Michael, they appreciated the homage nonetheless. The saxophone player was especially on point during the “Careless Whisper” portion.
The way Chaidez dashes across the stage and somehow doesn’t run out of breath or let it affect her singing is miraculous. She’s constantly climbing the drum kit, jumping off it at opportune times, constantly diving into the crowd. Most Kitten songs are extremely high-energy, and Chaidez never fails to bring even more intensity to her live performances of their songs. At one point during the set, about a dozen or so kids crashed the stage and jumped around Chaidez as she sang. They then returned to their spots in the crowd without security getting involved, it was awesome to see.
One of my favorite songs “Japanese Eyes” is one of the more furious tracks from their repertoire. The crowd matched the energy. Next was the song “Church” from last year’s EP, and upon hearing it live for the first time I instantly gained a newfound appreciation for the song. Then Chaidez dipped into her punk roots with “Kitten With a Whip,” a song that would have been a perfect fit in the Riot Grrrl movement of the ‘90s.
Chaidez then paid tribute to Prince with a moving cover of “Purple Rain” – her falsetto in the closing moments gave me actual goosebumps. A few songs later, the song “Like a Stranger” dripped in synthesizer. The way that song’s crescendo builds never fails to ignite the crowd. A few songs later, Kitten closed their set with “G#” – the most shoegazey song in their bag. By this time, Chaidez had changed into her third outfit of the evening, an impressive level of showmanship for a show that the ticket cost about $20.
The two-song encore featured a really strong cover of The Cure’s “Pieces of You” followed by an alternate version of their song “Kill the Light.” It’s impressive just how deep of a catalog of songs Kitten can pull from despite just one full album and a couple of EPs under their belt. Chaidez has been performing live since before she was a teenager and she pulls inspiration from so many different genres, it’s quite impressive.
Kitten has self-funded the follow-up to her self-titled full-length album from 2014. The new material she played Saturday sounded like signature Kitten songs, but with a bit more depth. Her backup players are extremely skilled, particularly the guy she had on keyboards. We are anxiously looking forward to the release of the record, which we expect sometime this year.
After seeing them perform for the first time in a bit, I feel safe in saying Kitten is one of the most consistently entertaining live bands out of LA, and they always deliver a great show. Saturday night was no different. One thing is clear — Kitten connects with her fans more than almost any band I’ve ever seen live. That fan base will only grow the more people come out and see them perform.
Photos courtesy of Tim Aarons
WATCH KITTEN PERFORM GEORGE MICHAEL’S “FATHER FIGURE” AND “CARELESS WHISPER:”