It's a hot night for Rainbow Kitten Surprise

Roadrunner, Boston, May 13, 2024

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

It was a hot night in more ways than one. Rainbow Kitten Surprise was back after a year-long touring hiatus to sell out three shows at the 3,500-capacity venue, having just released a new album on Friday, the lengthy "Love Hate Music Box." The layoff didn't seem to have any impact on the North Carolina band.

The night was also a hot one inside because four (!) times during the show, including three for the opening act, the show stopped for emergency personnel to deal with medical issues of fans.

Rainbow Kitten Surprise, touring behind their first release of new music in six years, was in good form throughout their 90-minute show. Six years is a long time to be away in the musical sphere as tastes change, fans can be fickle and fame fleeting, but that was not the case. In fact, the crowd often sang along with full force. Not hard to do since the songs seemed built to be fan friendly.

The band played tightly in forging an often indie fast-paced pop, danceable beat. They may be labeled as an indie rock band, but that was far less evident during the show as song after song was more on the indie pop end.

The focal point from start to finish was lead singer Ela Melo. Not a big talker (although far more so nearing the end of the night), Melo did not necessarily need to. She's a strong, confident singer (RKS also benefitted from Melo's voice always being mixed clearly, so you could actually hear her sing) and an engaging stage presence.

Good to see since Melo apparently has been through a lot since saying two years ago that she was transgender. The band went on hiatus almost exactly one-year ago cancelling U.S. and European shows for her to address mental health issues. RKS resurfaced without bassist Charlie Holt, who was axed from the band. Only about four shows into the tour, a touring bassist filled in without any problem, getting some prime time as well.

Melo often moved about the stage, twirled around time and time, even sitting down a few times. Let's put it this way - Melo's energy level was very very high.

And much credit to the staging as well with RKS opting for a lots of bright lights (with pinkish tones predominating) unlike many shows bathed in dark light. Well done to match the propulsive music.

Rainbow Kitten Surprise may be a different band than they were a year ago. With time off and a different look, they have rebounded quite well on this hot night.

Ethan Tasch opened with a sufficiently satisfying set, though not breaking any new ground exactly. The Nashville-based singer said two weeks that the group played a library. Now, they were playing their biggest show ever. Tasch was hampered by having to stop the show dead in its tracks three times for medical issues by fans, although the crowd was supportive when the music restarted.

Tasch benefited from having a very prominent pedal steel player, often giving the music an Americana/country lilt.

© Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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