Even though I was not all that into them when they started out, I have made up for lost time in supporting the albums of Kittie and the shows that they do when they pay a visit to NYC. I’ve come to realize just how hard the ladies work at both giving you a solid slab of Metal music along with an entertaining show so when they booked a gig at B.B. King Blues Club I was surely going to be there. This evening they would bring along Soil as the direct support and I had heard them before and also choose both Arkaea and Straight Line Stitch to do some opening band damage. We arrived nice and early to absorb and photograph the whole roster of bands and you can enjoy more by scrolling down.
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Soil, Arkaea, Straight Line Stitch
Label: E1 Entertainment
I’ve mentioned in the past that even though I was a little late in getting to the table in my appreciation for the girls in Kittie and how they deliver the Metal, that I have done the best possible these last few years by being on point to support their adventuring in our fair city. That being said tonight’s gig marks what amounts to my fourth time catching them perform and actually the third go round in B.B. King Blues Club in terms of gigs that I have attended. In my humble opinion this particular room works very well for the band at least as far as NYC is concerned as the way the club is spaced the fans can get right up close. Tonight there would be no photo barrier either and that meant they could even push themselves up to the front of the stage while the band performed. The show this evening would feature Straight Line Stitch, Arkaea and Soil and end up making this a three band bill from E1 Entertainment. With that many acts from one label it made this feel like something akin to a label showcase. SLS would come on first.
Straight Line Stitch: I had the pleasure of catching SLS only recently when they were oddly placed on the co-headlining bill of Hed PE and Mushroomhead. While they went over well, this was not the kind of Metal show that I think a band like this prospers from and tonight they would get back to brass tacks and perform in front of an audience that is much more ready, willing and able to enjoy what they are all about. Musically they were tight as always, and the ever energetic Alexis Brown seemed happy to be back in NYC and at this particular venue. She caught a lot of attentive eyes by sporting her “Real Chicks Listen To Metal” tank top and as usual was employing her braids as a weapon during each and every song. I felt this evening’s performance was much better than the one I saw at the Gramercy Theatre and perhaps that is because this venue was more of a comfort zone and the crowd more supportive of what they deliver but perhaps it is also my mind playing tricks on me. They are good but one needs to wonder how many fans they are getting for themselves by being such an early starting act. I think by now they deserve a little higher positioning in the roster of acts depending on the show they are working with. Only time will tell, and we wish this fine and hard working band the best going forward.
Arkaea: The band Arkaea is a relatively new band but one that features musicians that have been impacting the Metal scene for some time. It’s the combination of sound that one gets when you take two members from Fear Factory and two members from Threat Signal and let them run wild for Metal’s behalf. Not to take anything away from the accomplishments of Fear Factory, but thankfully this band formed by guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers and drummer Ray Herrera sounds noticeably different from what they were doing in their previous band. It’s super heavy of course and rumbles over you like a freight train moving at top speed. Fronted by Jon Howard, the vocals were in good order and he seemed to enjoy the response the set was getting. Pat Kavanaugh handles the bass and I determined that in the end the overall sound was different enough from both FF and TS that their original fan base might find it of some value. The bands debut album is called “Years In The Darkness” and the set this evening would come exclusively from the release as opposed to the guys doing any of their other material. The set was quick and shorter than expected but they should be back around soon and I will be sure to be there. Now it was time for Soil and I had never seen them before so was rather interested in how they could or would fit in with this kind of crowd.
Soil: A couple of years ago I reviewed the CD “True Self” and really liked what I heard and felt that the band was a righteous force on behalf of the “Alt-Metal” side and now tonight they would be supporting that release as well as their new one “Picture Perfect”. Even though I enjoyed what they do, I felt that this was an odd choice of opener because it was so far off the mark of what the lead off bands did and the eventual headlining stuff from Kittie. They hit the stage with a great amount of energy and sounded very tight which is never a bad thing. The sound was not as over the top heavy or as fast as what just hit us with Arkaea and as we mentioned this group is more of an Alt-Metal thing when it comes down to it. Of course they had a decent show of support which was nice to see and there was a good amount of Soil logo t-shirts observed on members of the audience. The bands singer is A.J. Cavalier and he was really getting into it this evening and showed a lot of emotion during the set. Much of the material would come from the bands new release and I was getting my first taste of the album this evening since I had not yet picked up a copy. I enjoyed the guitar work from Adam Zadel and how tight the rhythm section of Tim King and Tom Schofield was. Clearly the band is good at what they do but I think I would have preferred to find them headlining over a couple of acts with a similar vibe because while heavy in their design, its not as much in the way of crushing Metal which more of the bands were like this evening. Great set either way, and one that will make me look more into “Picture Perfect” when time allows.
Kittie: The last time we caught Kittie in action they were continuing the support for their album “Funeral For Yesterday” which they had released under their own power. Since that time the band had signed onto E1 Entertainment (formerly known as Koch Entertainment) and had released their newest album “In The Black”. Having heard the release I was happy to find the band strong and delivering a powerful Metal release and showing no signs of slacking or being tired of doing this night after night. The album would be the second for guitarist Tara McLeod and the first for bassist Ivy Vujic and together the pair work really well and expand upon the talents of the Lander Sisters.
Tonight the band would mix up their set quite a bit and who could blame them with a new album to support and start off the show with two numbers from the “In The Black” CD. “My Plague” is the first official song on the release and follows a brief instrumental interlude and as many have said is a powerful and aggressive number. It worked well as a gig starter and after this they would deliver “Cut Throat” which is the song that accompanies the recently filmed video. They actually shot film for “Sorrow I Know” but this song would be played a little later in the evening. It would have been cool to see these videos played on the screens of the venue while the equipment was changed but that didn’t happen. Oh well. In case you wondered the short films were the work of those fine folks at My Good Eye and producer David Brodsky. With such stalwarts of Metal as Cryptopsy, Black Dahlia Murder and The Agonist already under his belt I was certain that the Kittie clan was in excellent hands. I’ve not yet seen the videos but am sure that their official website showcases them along with YouTube.com so try to check them out.
Singer Morgan Lander spoke to the crowd during a number of occasions and she truly appreciates the fans of the band and reminds them of this again and again. She also seems to have a special affinity for the city of New York which always makes me happy to hear. I had to say that as I watched tonight’s performance I felt that I was seeing the best that the band had ever delivered since I became a fan and there was more of a “togetherness” than I had experienced. Don’t take this wrong as the band always entertains but tonight something felt a little more different and maybe it was the overall energy combined with a kick ass new album to present along with an equally Metal hungry crowd in front of them. Whatever it was it worked and I hope that they keep on doing it. Guitarist Tara was totally impressing me tonight and I do feel she is a solid player, but she was really strutting her stuff this evening more than I have seen her do. Clearly she was a wise choice and the same applies for bassist Ivy who really seems to enjoy being on the stage. Sporting some serious locks, she is a serious head banger during the show and the more you show her that you are into what she is going, the more she reciprocates in kind. Of course keeping the band in perfect time was drummer Mercedes, who appeared to have a different kit this tour unless I was mistaken and was also doing a lot of tasty footwork on the double bass. I felt she was a solid player over those last gigs that I caught and yet like the rest of the girls felt that this evening she was stepping outside of herself more as a musician. Of course the other thing that happens is that the more you do this the more you learn and can deliver. I was truly pleased to see Kittie upgrading their technical game because this keeps them interesting and ahead of their peers. Nice work ladies.
In the end they would deliver about five or six numbers from the new album and touch briefly upon the previous recording while at the same time offering up some of their standards. Kittie’s fan base has certain songs that must be played for them night after night and I doubt that we shall see a show where songs like “Oracle” are not delivered. I do admit some surprise that nothing from either “Spit” or “Paperdoll” was delivered but it gives the band something to focus on when they do a retro tour and present to the fans only material from their earliest releases. Don’t laugh at the premise of this because we see bands like Twisted Sister, KISS and Judas Priest doing it and it seems to work out very well. All of the bands performed to excellence and I do hope we see Kittie returning for another visit and bringing along even more interesting openers to enjoy. Good luck with the new album “In The Black” and if you have not heard it yet, what the hell are you waiting for.
Soil Set List:
1. Give it Up
2. Wide Open
3. Tear It Down
5. True Self
6. My Own
7. The Lesser Man
10. Picture Perfect
11. Pick Me Up
12. Like It Is
Kittie Set List:
1. My Plague
2. Cut Throat
5. Never Again
8. Whisky Love
9. In Winter
10. Die My Darling
11. Sorrow I Know
12. Falling Down
14. Forgive & Forget
The fans love the girls and Morgan Lander seems to inspire a lot of them based on how much ass she kicks on stage. They even give her presents at the shows and here we see the lovely Ms. Lander sporting a pair of fangs that were donated to her by one of her ardent admirers. I think she sets a great example to the young ladies in Metal and shows them how much good can come from hard work and dedication.
We also caught a brief moment of reflection about gigs past and tuning up for the task at hand with the always cool Miss Tara McLeod. I’ve really enjoyed what she brings to the music of Kittie and I am sure that the bands fans also agree.
Mercedes Lander was also chilling with one of her friends backstage and if memory served me correctly he was “he who makes sure the hair looks its best”. That’s always a good person to have at a show, if you have hair that is worthy of such attention especially.
Official Website: http://www.kittierocks.com
Official Website: http://www.myspace,com/soil
Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/arkaeamusic
Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/straightlinestitch