Rainbow Kitten Surprise
The Riv // Chicago, IL // February 8, 2019
RKS are the indie rock heroes we deserve.
High-energy, queer-friendly, happy-go-lucky. There’s nothing better than being front row for a Rainbow Kitten Surprise show. For their first evening in Chicago, they pulled out all the stops and gave their fans a flawless performance. Unfortunately, some technical difficulties kept the band from coming out for over 45 minutes. When they finally came out, singer Sam Melo thanked their roadies and tech crew for fixing the issues and simply said “The show must go on!” Shifting between the back of the stage to play keyboards and to edge of the barricade to sing with the audience, Melo was at times nearly impossible to photograph because he was moving about so much. No complaints here, however; we photographers love to see that kind of energy. The band’s bassist, Charlie Holt, kept up with Melo and tore up the stage in rainbow spotted leggings, while their drummer, Jess Haney, flashed an enormous grin to the crowd and photographers.
Rainbow Kitten Surprise are the perfect example of an indie rock band: their sound feels completely stripped down and DIY while still creating complex and exciting songs. The band’s lyrics in particular are witty, intimate, and, well, lyrical. Having played Lollapalooza just six months ago to a pretty big crowd, it’s no surprise they sold out two nights at The Riv. Towards the end of the night, surely exhausted with the literal gymnastics he’d been doing onstage, Melo finished the set shirtless and sweaty. Before their encore, they played the perfect song for the city, “Goodnight Chicago”. The lyrics are sad and reflective, but the accompanying melody still has a twinge of optimism and hope. That’s what great about Rainbow Kitten Surprise: they can write a song full of heaviness, but you still leave the theatre dancing in circles.