Roses And Revolutions, DRAMA MUSIC, Beginners And Kitten At It’s A School Night, Monday February 19th 2018
It’s a School Night at Bardot is always showcasing great bands, and although I wanted to check Kitten, a band I have more or less followed since its beginning (but I hadn’t seen for a while), I got to see four interesting bands in total on Monday night. If there was a theme of the night, it may have been young women as all the bands were fronted by young females with different styles and an energy going crescendo with the night: Roses and Revolutions were soft and soothing, Drama Music had a dark soul, Beginners was all swag and Kitten was a ball of fire rushing between your two astonished eyeballs.
So the night started slowly and peacefully with Roses and Revolutions, a duo from Rochester NY with an addition drummer, featuring Alyssa Coco’s powerful croon above delicate guitar-keyboard textures. The result was mostly atmospheric and often ethereal, whipped by a dynamic drumming and driven by heartfelt melodies. They covered The Weeknd’s ‘The Hills’, it was lovely executed and this may have been the most R&B moment, although there was a real R&B vibe filtering through their electro-pop songs. One of their songs, ‘The Pines’ went viral on the internet a little while ago, which got them to open for bands such as Marian Hill, Kaleo, The Head and the Heart, Lucius, and they performed the song to close their set, bringing a sort of ancient but catchy melancholia.
DRAMA MUSIC was another female-male duo from Chicago, a minimalist affair between Via Rosa’s dark, semi-industrial-wobbling electronica and Na’el Shehade’s soulful voice. Their style oscillated between noir R&B, pop, and beyond, captivating the audience with a moody but rather somber tone, engulfing diverse house music influences. Both of them have an impressive resume, she is a member of the THEMpeople collective, an experimental production and artist circle based in Chicago, and he is a producer and engineer who has collaborated with Chance the Rapper on his breakout mixtape ‘Acid Rap’ and Kanye West’s GOOD Music on the Cruel Summer compilation. With a semi jazzy neo-soul style, she had a great presence and a voice to fill their soulful electronica soundscapes, which often turned into real dance floors. The lyrics, which were circling around heartbreaks and painful relationship – there was a song entitled ‘Fuck David’ – were probably more sinister than their upbeat vibe, enhanced by Na’el’s style: she had put an electric crown on her head, and she lightened up like a happy Christmas tree, while blowing soap bubbles. People were so in love with them, that they had to come back for an encore with ‘a song about believing in life after love’.
Beginners were a riot, a quartet on the fun-and-aggressive side, fronted by the pretty and bold Samantha Barbera, who rose the energy (and the temperature) of the room right away. They started with a mad beating on kit drums, followed by a restless frontwoman slaying the place and singing in our face with piercing vocals and a swag you only find in the hip hop world. People were all arms-in-the-air at the sound of their very danceable and catchy electro pop, as the band had an obvious intention to have a good time and bring their tunes to the next level with a very entertaining performance. A song in particular, their new single ‘Let That Money Talk’, had Barbera walking around the stage while throwing fake $100 bills to the crowd as if they were candies, showing us she was quite the frontgirl. She was onstantly haranguing the crowd like a bolder Lykke Li, and removed her leather jacket to reveal a gold glittering bra, despite the freezing temperatures that have overpowered Los Angeles these past few days. The songs were an act of seduction by themselves, and a plan ‘to dirty up and bring some danger back into pop music’, as she explained herself in a press release. With the help of her dynamic band (Neeraj Kane on guitar, Jason Walker on drums and Honor Nezzo on keys), she managed to do that, with more bouncing-along songs and a great energy till the end. Beginners, with plenty of airplay on top alternative stations like Portland’s KNRK, Seattle’s the End, San Francisco’s Live 105, and Los Angeles station KROQ and Alt. 987, and 10 million Spotify streams, are going to make it, at least it sounds that way, and their last song was precisely about this, ‘making it in the industry’… this is ‘Making love to the dead’ screamed Samantha Barbera with the same over-the-top stage confidence she had demonstrated from the beginning. She was a force, and you will probably hear from them again when they release their forthcoming album ‘CREAM’, this summer.
I hadn’t seen Kitten for a few years, but I had witnessed some of their earliest jaw-dropping shows, when Chloe Chaidez was just a baby, although she has never been anything but a fierce front woman. She is 23 now and she is still the short athletic type, but her stage presence is incredible, and her huge voice has brought her comparisons to Gwen Stephani or Shirley Manson. The band’s line up has changed over the years (they are in total 6 on stage) and their sound has also expanded to a very busy and layered chaotic electro pop, making Chloe violently shake her ultra fit body in all directions, before removing her over sized shirt to continue the performance in white pant and bra under stroboscopic rainbow lights. She sang with passion and yearning in the voice, starting with their new single ‘I Did it’, a buoyant ‘80s-inspired pop gem, followed by songs from their 2014 self titled album and new ones, or at least unknown to me, like ‘Mercury’ and ‘Pink Champagne’.
This past years, Chloe has cut her hair short and moved to New York, and during her set she announced a new record, which explained the new songs, but she hadn’t forgotten the old anthems, such as ‘Like A Stranger’ and its dramatic synth new wave dancefloor, which transformed the place in a sort of Studio 54. She has always given high-energy performances and she was really on fire this time, but nevertheless found the time for a facetime with her grandmother in the middle of her set: ‘She doesn’t believe,.. she really doesn’t want me to do music’, told us Chloe while holding her phone, ‘She says, ‘I think you should find a regular job,… with a pension’’… Grandma showed up on the phone, smiling at the crowd’s enthusiasm.. ‘You see?’ said Chloe as if she still had to prove something. After the disco-esque ‘Strange Embrace’ and the bombastic ‘G#’, which has to be their most powerful and passionate anthem, Chloe took over the room, she climbed to the small balcony behind us and threw herself to the crowd for an epic crowd surfing finale, while the guitars and synth went crazy,… this was some exit! Kitten gave an impressive performance and did I say they were super sexy? and I am not only talking about their moniker.