There’s something to be said for a concert at the Wiltern where all of the seated audience immediately stands to their feet as if they’re also in general admission. As soon as the mist blew onto the stage, the theatre resounded in thunderous applause for the four members of Rainbow Kitten Surprise.
Walking in, I had only a vague idea of Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s discography, but I left with an impression of their wide range in sound. From hits like “Devil Like Me” and “Cocaine Jesus” (which, unsurprisingly, everyone knew all the lyrics to), to more experimental songs like “Possum Queen” and lowkey tunes like “That’s My Sh**”, Rainbow Kitten Surprise did not leave any moment or person unfulfilled in the musical experience. In fact, everyone around me was dancing away, screaming lyrics at their partners and friends throughout the entirety of the concert.
Some stand-out certified headbangers included the opener “Matchbox”, marked by its very early 2010s indie-band drumline; a personal favorite, “First Class”, written about validation in romantic relationships, something many millennials can relate to, was also played. If anything, Rainbow Kitten Surprise knows its audience through and through with these lyrics: “Am I enough for you?/In time you'll find I've got my baggage too.”
What they lacked in stage banter, they made up for in their performance. Lead vocalist Sam Melo leaped across the stage, often dancing around guitarist Bozzy Keller, while bassist Charlie Holt stunned in a glittering red dress and equal enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Jess Haney simply did not rest on the drums! The most exciting part of the night, however, had to be the light show they put on to accompany their music (huge props to the bands lighting crew). One moment we were bathed in a sea of red, the next UFO lasers shot down over our heads. You get the idea.
To be completely transparent, I must say that I was more impressed by the encore than the chosen tracks for the main concert. It was not a matter of energy in their performance, but essentially more about how those songs themselves were much more interesting. The title “Possum Queen” truly pulls you in, to begin with, and the falsetto gave Melo a chance to stretch his voice to its limits and beyond. The final performance of “Run” gave every single member of the band a chance to showcase their musical talents; the guitar riffs were over-the-top elaborate, the drums intensified with every beat, and the vocals were enlarged to true rock vibes. A masterpiece of a song, “Run,” not only finished off the concert with a bang but also sent the audience off with enough adrenaline to fuel the rest of their night.
From the moment the band stepped on stage to the last notes of their encore, Rainbow Kitten Surprise brought a glitterfest to the Wiltern that was undeniably a truly thrilling experience.