Part pussycat dolls, part pussy riot The Lounge Kittens are sassy, sexy, irreverent, occasionally offensive but always great fun.
They pastiche songs as far away from the mainstream as Marilyn Manson, Metallica and System of a Down but they do it in a style which would not be out of place in a John Lewis Christmas advertisement. They have opened for Limp Bizkit, Bowling for Soup and Steel Pantherand played at Sonisphere and Download, all this on the back of a few YouTube videos and one EP entitled ‘Just the Tip’. But can they stand on their own and headline a tour to promote their debut album ‘Sequins and C-Bombs’? Well on the evidence of last night, it’s a big yes, the band managed to do a good job of filling Leeds Key Club and three other of the tour dates have sold out in advance.
Seeing The Lounge Kittens live is more like a musical conversation with some funny mates and you can see why they went down a storm at the Edinburgh Fringe, they are charismatic, funny and pleasing on the eye. But the question remains who actually listens to them?
Judging by the beards, tattoos, band t-shirts and day-glow hair (more than one group of fans had one red, one pink, one blue as an homage to the band) the demographic which goes to a Lounge Kittens gig is the rock crowd and this only adds to the spectacle of the occasion. Watching a hairy tattooed man in an Avenged Sevenfold tshirt try to carry out the band’s request to mosh to a version of Drowning Pool’s ‘Bodies’ done with glorious harmonies and a piano is as funny as it is ludicrous. They interact with their audience brilliantly and you feel like you’re somehow good buddies with these three talented lasses. When the band dedicate their ‘romantic’ Slipknot cover to a couple who got engaged on stage with them you’re not surprised, why shouldn’t you? During one song there was a couple of phones held aloft like at a ‘real’ gig much to Zan’s delight but it’s Timia who supplies the punchline: “It was actually a live call, it’s like they’ve phoned up someone they hate and said listen to this you c**t”. The Lounge Kittens are still surprised that anyone likes them and that is one of the most endearing facets of the band, their humility. They’re making the most of this before they’re found out and go back to boring jobs making funny videos of the songs they love on the internet.
To be able to poke fun at any genre successfully it is important to love what you do and equally love what you are paying tribute to. This way the fans know you are paying homage to songs, not ridiculing them. The Lounge Kittens obviously do love their rock music, whether it’s the blue mohicanned kitten Timia, the tattooed red kitten Jen or the potty-mouthed mistress of ceremonies, pink kitten Zan, there is no doubting that they adore every song they cover.
They do it well too, the arrangements are fantastic and do not seem at all forced. I heard House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ on the radio the other day and thought it sounded wrong. Replicating their record live is not a problem for these girls, it was note perfect and they proved their talents several times but none more than when they live sampled their voices into a beatbox to replay them as the backing for ‘Jump Around’, simple yet difficult to do in one take on stage in front of a crowd. Sharp harmonies and perfect timing throughout with not a note out of place even for the encore of ‘Rollin’ which in typical Lounge Kittens wasn’t expected or planned for. It was all in all a brilliant night with the friendliest bunch of nutters you could hope for both on and off the stage creating a fantastic atmosphere. On record they are entertaining and very clever, live they are the best fun you can have with your Rammstein tshirt on.
Sometimes you need an act to prick the pretentious bubble that some musicians live in and in doing so show the quality of the songs behind the posturing and image, The Lounge Kittens are a public service for the music industry, long may they keep doing it.