Photos and Review by: Itzel Ruiz
All the way from Boone, NC, Rainbow Kitten Surprise took the stage in front of a sold-out crowd at the Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, TX this past May. This concert was originally supposed to take place at Emo’s Austin but due to popular demand it was upgraded to a bigger venue. I arrived at the concert promptly 10 minutes after doors at 7:10pm. I was eager for Rainbow Kitten Surprise to take the stage since this would be my first time seeing them at their own headlining show.
I discovered Rainbow Kitten Surprise, when I added their popular song “Cocaine Jesus” to my SXSW 2017 playlist, in preparation for the famous Austin music festival. Rainbow Kitten Surprise also took the stage at Austin City Limits 2017 last October and I was able to catch their early set on Sunday. However, with the recent release of their album, How to: Friend, Love, Freefall they went on their own headlining tour, that lucky for me included an Austin stop.
The crowd was eager for the live music to start, since this was an outdoor venue with higher than usual temperatures. Finally, at around 8:00pm Brent Cowles took the stage, capturing everyone’s attention with his sequined covered suit jacket.
Much like Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s sound, Brent Cowles’s sound is unique, mixing classic rock with a dash of blues in his soulful voice. His stage set up was minimalistic, with a couple of lights and him on stage accompanied by his guitarist and drummer. Once he started preforming the crowd was swaying and actively engaging with his performance. The girls at barricade sang and danced along to his songs. Before departing the stage, he thanked the crowed for having him and gave them a wave.
The anticipation grew, as the time for Rainbow Kitten Surprise came. The security started to distribute water to the people at the barricade and the front who, had been waiting for their spot all day. It was a hot day and with everyone packed in the front some people started to step aside to try and get some fresh air. With the sun finally going down the temperatures finally dropped a bit and then later the stage lights dimmed meaning Rainbow Kitten Surprise was about to take the stage. As soon they stepped on stage the crowd was nothing but screams, everyone immediately started to dance along and scream the lyrics along with lead singer Sam Melo. Their setlist included songs from their new album as well as older songs loved by fans like “Cocaine Jesus,” “Devil Like Me,” and “Lady Lie” among others. “Fever Pitch” got the crowd going and Sam Melo was super entertaining to watch on stage. He would spin around, and danced all over the stage, showcasing his dance major skills. The best part was seeing the band members interact with each other on stage as well as with the crowd. Charlie the bassist rocked a glittery eye shadow as well as a bold red lip on stage, he would come down to the speaker to be closer to the front row which was followed by screams of the fans.
During one part of the show Sam Melo shared an anecdote of one time when he wasn’t writing anymore and felt like he was stuck, then he shared that once he started writing he realized that it was the first time the song he was writing was with a guy in mind. To this anecdote the crowd responded with cheers. Usually at concerts, cellphones are the only thing in sight, because fans are trying to capture their favorite moments. However, at this Rainbow Kitten Surprise the atmosphere was more relaxed, and the crowd was dancing and singing along with phones only coming out to record a few seconds of their favorite songs. Overall the crowd was amazing, everyone was friendly and interactive with the band on stage. At the end the band members themselves came down to the front row to hand their fans the set lists and guitar picks.
Once they left the stage the crowd refuse to leave and chanted “ONE MORE SONG” repeatedly. The cheers intensified as the band members returned to the stage. They came back and performed three more songs! The closing song was “Run” and the entire crowd was jumping up and down along to the jumps of singer Sam Melo. Sam introduced all the band members by name and thanked Austin, promising they would return soon. Overall, the concert was a wonderful experience and I’m thankful I got to witness such an interactive set.
Be sure to check out Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s new album, How to: Friend, Love, Freefall on all music platforms. Although this leg of the tour just concluded catch them on their second leg of tour in the fall. Tour dates can be found here: Rainbow Kitten Surprise tour.