Review: Rainbow Kitten Surprise @ Newport Music Hall
Fun. Exhilarating. Enthralling. Rainbow Kitten Surprise is currently on their The Friend, Love, Freefall Tour and recently played a sold-out show at the Newport with Ohio natives Caamp as their opener. Electricity filled the venue as passion oozed from the stage; the community this band brought together is like no other I have experienced.
With about four other photographers, I danced around in front of the pit – constantly switching spots for new angles, different lighting, and capturing personalities of the various band members. So close, I was catching intimate moments – as though I had walked in on a private conversation – while simultaneously Sam, Bozzy, Ethan, Jess, and Charlie were revealing these raw emotions in front of hundreds.
Starting on a soulful note with Fever Pitch from their new album, How To: Friend, Love, Freefall, Rainbow Kitten Surprise immediately set the mood for one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a long time. Playing songs from previous albums such as RKS and Seven + Mary, I was personally in awe when I heard Cocaine Jesus; both the first song I ever heard them play and still one of my favorites. Closing it all out, the encore consisted of Possum Queen and Polite Company, both impassioned songs from their new album, allowing the audience to cool off before finally transitioning back into the rest of the world.
When I obtained tickets to the Rainbow Kitten Surprise show, I was fully aware that it would be a night of unforgettable jams. However, I was unaware that the "S" in "RKS" stood for "Sam Melo is about to tear this stage down danger noodle style." During the break down of their semi-new song Fever Pitch, I became slightly concerned as it appeared something was trying to erupt out of Sam’s chest. I would find out a few seconds later that it was his inner Dancing Queen, and we were all in for a wild ride. He flailed his arms at warping speed, microphone still in hand, slowly bending his knees into a Plié. Then he began to Moonwalk in all directions (even upwards--it could easily have been his angelic stage presence transcending humanity itself, but it was hard to tell. I wasn’t exactly front-row).
Later on, during their more popular song Seven, he collapsed on the floor into a pile of human tissue and began spinning, slowly at first, then gaining speed as a figure skater would on the ice. At this moment, someone grabbed my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and gave me the most accurate description of what I was watching. He said,
“Yo, this guy is totally a 2/10 dancer, but he performs like a 10/10, ya feel?”
I turned back to a now bicycle-kicking Sam Melo. And the guy behind me was right. He was not a good dancer… his moves were incredibly awkward and unpredictable, and you never knew which part of his body was going to get thrown into the air next. But he was in complete control of his body. Every single movement was deliberate (at one point he held the microphone with his pinky out). And it’s this control, this chaotic balance, this ying and yang that kept me at the edge of my seat. It was by far one of the most entertaining shows I have been to, and I cannot wait for them to come back again.