POP MONTREAL 2015: Kitty, Daisy and Lewis + Babes in Toyland

One of the best things about any festival is the opportunity to discover something new. Before any new festival starts, I do my research as to who’s playing and what the buzz-iest acts are. But I also enjoy throwing my plan out the window to give something a try I know absolutely nothing about. Sometimes it’s a monumental disaster (aka the posts that never get written), other times it’s a delightful surprise.

Thankfully last Friday at Petit Campus I experienced the later. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are a British band whose talent is immediately recognizable. First and foremost, the band is the definition of stage presence. The ladies walked out in matching sparkly body suits and a fiery red pantsuit. The gentlemen all wore suit and ties.

And as they smiled broadly and danced around the stage, I gave a sigh of relief.  What a treat not to see yet another indie rock band where four white dudes stand uncomfortably in place on stage.

The natural chemistry that the band has on stage isn’t hard to decipher; they’re family. Literally. The aforementioned Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are all siblings. Their back-up band when they’re touring? Mom and Dad. Even Grandpa comes up and plays the trumpet for a few numbers. You wish your family was this cool.

Their music has a wide range of influences, from R&B to rock n’ roll to swing. It makes sense that they would shift influences to suit whoever takes over the reigns as lead singer. While mom and dad stayed put as back-up musicians throughout the set, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis seemed to play musical chairs each number as they all took turns either singing, playing guitar, piano, or drums.

My favourite of their numbers was the Lewis led “Baby Bye Bye”. I look forward to downloading their music and getting to know this band better in the future.

On Saturday night I headed back to the Rialto for an evening of punk rock. The headliners for the evening where the American punk band and riot grrl inspiration Babes in Toyland. I’d never heard of the band before last week, but my curiosity was peaked when I heard the band was inspiration for other girl bands like Sleater Kinny.

When you think of punk rock/grunge you half expect the musicians to look bored and annoyed to be there. I was grateful that Babes in Toyland didn’t play to that stereotype at all. They gushed about how The Rialto was the most beautiful venue they’d ever played.

The band also talked about how someone in the audience had bought a ticket to their show they had to cancel twenty years ago when they couldn’t get across the border. After said audience member produced a ticket as proof, the band laughed and promised to sign the ticket after the show. The whole moment really showed that this band has an audience that loves them, and they love ’em right back.

Babes in Toyland may be a punk band/grunge band, but there was nothing sloppy or unorganized about this show. They went on stage at exactly 10 pm and performed a tight one hour set. But just because these ladies are professionals doesn’t mean the music was in any way lame or commercial. As the audience members pounded back beers and started moshing, these ladies rocked loud and hard. And what’s more punk rock than that?

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