Thursday, 18th October 2018. 12:46:03pm ET
Band: Kittie
City: NYC
Venue: Irving Plaza
Date: 8/4/04
Reviewer: Crystaviel

I went to Irving Plaza on a 16+ night to see Kittie play, with about six hours' foreknowledge of this band. Crusty gothrocker that I am, I went in expecting a girly pop-numetal band, punk because it's 'kewl', and I confess I walked into the show prepared not to like them.

But by the second song, their show so far had reminded me why I mostly review shows and not CDs. 11 p.m. sharp, Kittie took the stage. I'd found a good spot, from which I saw the four girls: The cute, little, skinny black-clad form of guitarist Lisa Marx, under a pressed, bleached blonde mop, supporting a black guitar and bopping around the stage in high-top Chucks. Classy-punk looking lead-singer type with Black No. 1 hair: Morgan Lander holding a cool chevron-shaped guitar. The drummer, her sister Mercedes, bathed in ethereal white light, a pillar of wind and fog rushing upward past her, ruffling her hair. (The light show was excellent, and as it turned out, most of the stage lights were brought in wheeled crates and the tops simply removed. Kittie is, as one fan notes, a well-oiled machine.) And a heavily tattoed, very metal, badass-looking bassist babe I would definitely not even consider picking a fight with. Jennifer Arroyo seems perfect for the role of chick-metal bassist, well-schooled in the fine art of inciting the audience weirdly with her hands, feet, and the massive thing she's got essentially strapped to her pelvis.

They started off with "Looks So Pretty", the opener of their new album, called "Until The End," and they played most of the new album in this set, along with "In Winter" (off of Oracle, their second album) and "Charlotte" and "Brackish", from their first album, Spit. I couldn't understand a word she was saying most of the time, but she sounded pretty pissed off, what with the heavily distorted growling-screaming vocals. I couldn't help but let the style of the vocals remind me of Bow Ever Down... except in this case, the one girl plays both roles, alternately screaming and singing in a clear, strong voice. It was already way, way harder and more metal that I'd previously dared to hope it would be, and kids, as velvety and as mopey as I remain, I've got to tell you that I was impressed.

For starters, yes, they were actually playing those guitars. It wasn't really melodic, complicated guitar playing, for the most part - it's metal guitar... DADADADADADADADA, meant to assist you in slamming yourself bodily around, not contemplating fine art. I would really like to know how little Lisa played guitar the whole entire show while swinging her head around and around, headbanger style, without becoming dizzy and falling over. Jen demanded devil horns from the crowd, and they complied. There was such great energy from the audience, from a hiss into a scream, reacting to everything the girls did on stage. Jen straddled and masturbated her bass. They didn’t exactly quiet down.

After "Daughters Down", they bade the crowd farewell. "ENCORE!ENCORE!ENCORE!ENCORE!" But no, insanely, the lights went up and staff began rolling up all the cords. I was left utterly stumped, along with pretty much everyone else. This is nearly unheard of.

When the lights went up, I could see Mercedes' drums: Pink and sparkly, with a teddy bear lashed to the front.

After the show, I hung out for a while and got to corner them, one by one, to ask them some questions in between drinking, hugging, and being snagged by fans with cameras.

Crystaviel: So, how old are you kids and how long have you been playing your instruments?

Jen: I'm in my mid-twenties... I started playing when I was 14.

Lisa: I'm 22. I learned to play guitar when I was 14, and I got my first electric guitar at 15.

Mercedes: Well, when we started the band eight years ago, I was 12 and Morgan was 14. We were a band for a long time before we were noticed, though.

Crystaviel: Then that was in, let's see, 1996?

Mercedes: *nods*

Crystaviel: I've heard that the band is based in Ontario, but where are you all from?

Jen: Well, Morgan and Mercedes live in Canada and I'm from Staten Island.

Lisa: But Jen lives in DC right now... and I'm from Seattle.

Crystaviel: How the heck do you people get together to practice?

Lisa: We all fly to Canada for practice.

Crystaviel: Okay, I've got one last question for each of you. What is your favorite question to answer about yourself, and what's the answer to it?

Jen: My favorite question is, "What's your favorite thing about being a Kittie," and the answer is, "Morgan, Mercedes and Lisa."

Mercedes: I like questions about music... I like it when people ask weird questions like, "What was the first band you listened to?" I don't want people to ask me anything about my vagina!

Crystaviel: Well Mercedes, um, what was the first band you listened to? Who are your influences?

Mercedes: I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. Music IS my influence.

Morgan: Well, there are questions I DON'T like being asked. Namely, ex-band-member questions, and gender questions.

Crystaviel: People ask you if you're a man??

Morgan: No, I hate it when people ask [here she puts on an idiot voice] "What's it like to be a woman in a male dominated world?"

Crystaviel: You, Lisa? Is there a question you like to answer about yourself? And what's the answer?

Lisa: Wow, that's really hard. I can't really just think of something like that.

Crystaviel: Well, tell me, what do you do when you go home? When you girls aren't touring, do you have day jobs? Or is this what you do, now?

Lisa: Well, right now, I'm really not going home for a while. When we do go home, it's only for like a week at a time, just to relax, mainly.

Crystaviel: So do you have any advice for local, as-yet-unsigned bands who hope to find themselves quitting their day jobs in the future?

Lisa: Practice!

Kittie's new album, "Until The End", came out on July 27th, 2004 and is available in stores. It's good (obligatory goth disclaimer: for Chick Metal) but it doesn't even approach their live show. ...Which does rock, and I suggest that you go and see it when they come to your town.


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