Usually Brooklyn’s Kitten Ablaze is a six-piece band comprised of an amazing string section about which only other bands only dream. However, for their performance at SXSW, they were only half a band, and while this might be an issue for other musical ensembles, Kittens Ablaze made it work, and flawlessly so.
It was the Friday night of the music section of SXSW when Kittens Ablaze took the stage at The Wave on Austin’s famous 6th Street. Despite playing just an hour before Austin’s painfully early last call, and in a bar that seemed to cater to more of a jock/frat boy clientele than your usual indie-rock type fan, the turn out was quite decent.
When in Brooklyn Kittens Ablaze shows are usually sold out and their audience not only dances until they’re sweaty and exhausted, but also sing along to every song word for word. So in comparison, their SXSW show was fairly laidback. And although the absent members of the band were missed for the intoxicating energy level that only the full band can induce, the lack of bass and drums provided for an intimate acoustic set.
Despite members being spread all over the world at this point, Tim Spellman, Michelle Young, Jenny Bress and Rob Paterson (providing backing sounds on a laptop) came together to play older favorites like “This Machine is Dying” and “Rabbit is a Livewire,” from The Monstrous Vanguard, as well as some new songs. Outside on Austin’s main drag, the crowds swelled and became more and more raucous as 2AM fast approached, and while some of the hilarity spilled over into The Wave and drunken people wobbled back and forth in front of the tiny stage, Kittens Ablaze were not deterred; they were there to put on a great show, and that’s exactly what they did.
While they don’t have any future shows planned just yet, the members will all be back in Brooklyn by mid-summer. Hopefully this means Kitten Ablaze’s biggest fans will be able to dance and sing along in New York City’s sweltering summer heat…one can only cross their fingers.
By, Amanda Chatel