by Dan Gibson
In case you were wondering how the Young the Giant/Kitten show was last night, the winner of our ticket contest, Kevin Chess, emailed in a report this morning:
I don’t know if you were there, but the opening band, Kitten, was fronted by a woman that was like a crazed, over-developed kindergartner who’d been locked in a rubber room for a coupla days and given only coffee as sustenance. I don’t mean that in a bad way. From her bare-footed rhythmic writhing jumps, hurls and spins around the stage to the headbanging swirling of her hair, she seemed hypnotized by the soul of rock n roll. The frontal landing of her hair would completely cover her face a la “Cousin It” (Addams Family), but she did not miss a vocal beat. What her road-weary voice lacked in range and durability, she made up for by spewing her sex-strewn vocals, clearly entertaining the crowd. This imp exuded more stout sexuality than the entire flock of statuesque blondes in miniskirts and heels that were present. The keyboard/synth player added a lot of diversity, countering the straight-ahead guitarist, while the bass player, overcoming an early error, strongly drove the band home. And I mean drove.
When the headliner Young the Giant took the stage it was clear why the flock of statuesque blondes were there. This band of five handsome white guys rock like a bunch of young dudes should — they are having fun and it shows, they actually feel the stuff they write and sing about, and it shows, and they like experimenting musically while still nailing down their own sound. They performed their album — not a huge repertoire yet — and the crowd glommed on to all tunes. Good background vocals, something you don’t see nor hear every day. The guitarists, moving around with some classic Rickenbackers and hollow-body Gibsons, traded off well. The guitarist playing most of the lead riffs hung back shyly yet slyly, finding the best sound. He even pulled out, for lack of a better term, a portable theramin at the beginning of Street Walker, providing an eerie late-at-night, lonely street sound. The guitarist of Muse used one of these when they played in Phoenix last year. This apparatus seems to use light to absorb vibration from the strings, similar to a theramin (the instrument heard prominently in Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”. The band left the stage with the crowd wanting more, but since they only charged a buck a head, they had to go sell souvenirs and stuff, and they may have run out of songs anyway.