Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
hen you don't show for almost six years - Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are guilty as charged - and barely release any music unless counting one excellent disc out in late March on a British label and something almost unheard in the states in 2011, don't expect the masses to show up either.
Predictably, that didn't happen for the family band from the London area, but when you play gigs as buoyant, at times head spinning and just plain fun as this, then maybe you'd think twice about your future touring plans.
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis had their biggest foray into the U.S. as the invited opening act guest of Coldplay way back in 2009. This was their first gig back in the Boston area since, resulting in about 100 people coming out. The show was part of a stateside tour in support of "The Third," out on a British label, Sunday Best, and produced by admirer Mick Jones of The Clash.
KD&L are really a family band of five. That would start with parents Graeme on acoustic guitar, his wife, Ingrid Weiss on both electric and stand-up bass and their three children on a variety of instruments including keyboards, drums, electric guitar and banjo.
When it comes to trying to figure out the band's musical style, well, don't waste a lot of time doing so. Among the sounds are rockabilly, jump blues, jazz, ska, rock, folk/country and pop. Don't dismiss these guys as a band without an identity because that they have. In essence, their sounds are, of course, related, meshed and sounded totally legit instead of falling victim to being genre hoppers.
The head spinning comes to the fore you consider that Kitty, Daisy and Lewis all played drums and took lead vocals with Kitty and Lewis taking the lion's share. Kitty, dressed in a tight fitting aqua jumpsuit (Lewis wore a formal brown suit, while Daisy was in a mainly black jumpsuit), was a bit of the snarly, barking out the vocals type, while Lewis was more controlled and gave a different feel with a more folk-oriented bent (particularly especially on the politically charged "Developer's Disease").
Kitty and Lewis both played lead guitar (Lewis was especially sharp) as well as keyboards. And then there was trumpet player Eddie "Tan Tan" Thornton, about 82, who played on The Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life." Part cheerleader, Thornton also pumped it up musically on several songs during the set.
From song to song, the musical roles changed. Graeme Durham said after the gig that they decided who would play what based on what seemed appropriate.
Apparently, the harp felt just perfect for Kitty, particularly during the encore "Say You'll Be Mine" because during the 15-minute song (yes, 15!), she and Lewis on guitar went at it full force repeating lines for several minutes running before others would take over. It may have gone just a tad long, but somehow it also felt right.
Give the Durhams a lot of credit for just hitting these shores again without a tremendous amount of institutional support behind them. But they more than make up for that with a show that was a most welcome return.
Here's some advice as well for Kitty, Daisy & Lewis - assuming you can afford it, don't wait so long to return.
Fellow Brit Gemma Ray opened with a rewarding rock set. Ray, who has lived in Berlin for four years, proved quite adept in filling the songs with her full-bodied guitar while only having drummer/keyboardist (he would play both at once at times) Andy Zammit helping out. They had no trouble filling out the songs.
Ray, who has barely played in the States, benefitted from having material and a vocal delivery of quality.