It feels like only yesterday since I last caught The Lounge Kittens when in actual fact it was roughly eighteen months ago as they opened for Jaret Reddick on his Heartache and Hilarity tour. The great thing about going to see the bright-haired be-sequined trio of girls is whilst they’re normally pigeon-holed into the rock camp with playing those sorts of festivals, they’re not shy in covering other genres and it’s reflected in the crowd they draw.
First up is Grant Sharkey and despite the small and polite crowd gathered, he’s not shy in making jokes about it being a Wednesday. And what follows is an absolutely perfect opening act. Powered only by his own vocals and a double bass, he relies on original material rather than covers but its stripped-back nature makes it a great fit. And while the headliners have their own zany brand of humour, this is half stand-up set, half musical performance. Much of the songs and banter between is politically-charged, taking aim at Brexit, racists… and Wetherspoons.
Then, there’s the song “Genitals”. Celebrating genders of all types and inspired by Donald Trump’s insistence that transgender people aren’t qualified to drop bombs on other countries, it’s part bass line, part vocals with audience participation. As Sharkey explains, he can’t play and sing at the same time because as he contorts his face whilst playing, he remarks “That’s just filth”. It’s not the same sort of filth as say, The Hyena Kill, but it’s filth nonetheless. Then, there’s the chorus line of “Clap your hands if you have genitals / Clap your hands for your vulva, cock and balls”. Vulvas and Wetherspoons, it’s not every day you hear these topics covered by an artist. However, once the arseclowns of the universe are taken to task and how ridiculous the western hemisphere has become with its farcical politics, Sharkey ends his set with a song dedicated to a departed friend. He’s suitably warmed the crowd up and got them in good spirits for what follows.
As The Lounge Kittens kick off their own set with “Gold Dust”, the opening track from their new EP, Have Another…, complete with air keyboarding from Zan. They then run the gamut of many of their own “back catalogue” of their unique covers and some of the highlights come from the medleys such as the pop punk one (although my knowledge of pop punk being Blink-182 and Bowling for Soup, it shows how catchy and fun that genre is), the one comprised of 80s and 90s cartoon theme tunes (particularly their rendition of the Pokémon theme is excellent) and “Smack My Firestarter to Outer Space” is dedicated to Keith Flint.
Despite coming close to the end of a long tour, there’s no sign of fatigue and the trio of Kittens are in fine voice, as ever, as the three of them hit their respective notes and cues. There’s the usual brand of zany humour with the odd innuendo thrown in for good measure, the standard bitchy introductions of one another and the return of the T-rexican wave. However, they’re not afraid to get serious at points as they’re open about their struggles as a band and as individuals with their Avicii medley, with Grant Sharkey returning to the stage to lead crowd participation for percussion.
As the whole of the new EP is covered, System of a Down’s “Violent Pornography” is introduced by remarking you can never have too much System of a Down (I concur) before leading into Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long” and then Bloodhound Gang’s “Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo” with enough innuendos to make Steel Panther blush. And only at a Lounge Kittens gig could you get away with playing those three artists back to back.
It’s the last few tracks where the trio marry their diverse coverage of bands whilst drawing from their short but prolific history. “Love Walked In” is a stark reminder of how talented the three girls are in not only their vocals but how they can rearrange a song to remain faithful to the source but give it a fresh coat of paint. And if you’re going to cover Thunder, you can’t really go wrong with any of their songs but they’re definitely ripe for the next medley. Or EP. Or album. Or just a set full of Thunder songs. Then they take it further back with “Gloryhole” with previous touring partners, Steel Panther, all name-checked as per the album version before taking it all the way back to the beginning with Limp Bizkit’s “Rollin’”.
With one final medley to round out the evening, bookended by Queen (and what better band to feature more than once), it’s a run through of a whole host of songs that you can’t help but sing along to. Sure, some of them are cheesy, but you can’t deny each of them is a gem in their own right. Taking their bows, it’s another example of The Lounge Kittens continually being better than the last time. There may not be any original material but they’re far from a novelty act, the talent and skill needed for these songs are blindingly obvious and another half-hour on top of the ninety minutes they belted out those songs wouldn’t have been pushing it into “too much” territory. If anything, it’s proof that sometimes you can’t have too much of a good thing.
Photos by Amy Harris-Abbott of CE Photography