The all girl, all metal band known as Kittie roared into the Highline Ballroom last night, playing a vicious set as they celebrated the release of their sixth studio album, I’ve Failed You.
Kittie has had a tumultuous rise throughout their career, fighting sexism, labels, and lineup changes over the past decade. But the core of the group, singer/guitarist Morgan Lander and her sister, Mercedes Lander, continues to triumph, and the hardcore, hard-moshing fans filling the Highline last night attested to the quality metal the band continues to put out album after album.
Kittie opened the set with the title track from I’ve Failed You, on the day that the record was officially released (watch my video of I’ve Failed You from last night in the left sidebar). Like most Kittie songs, it was short but brutal, Morgan’s death growl vocals absolutely crushing over furious riffs as they properly kicked off their record release party.
As the band played on, crowdsurfers flew overhead, launching out of a small but violent mosh pit swirling in the center of the floor. The ladies of Kittie are not only quality musicians, but have a great stage presence as well, straddling their monitors and bantering with the crowd between songs. Last time Kittie played New York, Morgan was an angry blonde (read my review of that show here), but in 2011 the frontwoman has changed into a raging brunette, absolutely owning both her stage and her audience.
The night’s setlist was a nice, even mix of songs taken from throughout their discography, with favorites like Oracle and Spit getting great responses, and new song Empires (Part 2) allowing Morgan to show off her surprisingly catchy clean vocals as well. Disappointingly, the band once again excluded their breakout hit Brackish, even joking about not playing it between songs. It’s understandable that the band doesn’t like being tied to one song, but perhaps unfair to fans who have not been able to hear it live for several years now.
Throughout the show, fans gamely danced and headbanged to the uncompromising metal, easily some of the fiercest yet well-written tracks throughout the death metal genre. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Kittie sprinkles guitar solos and melodic singing through their music, with Mercedes even singing backup vocals from her drum kit, and those flavors added much-appreciated melody to the otherwise brutal audio assault. The night ended with one more new track, We Are The Lamb, before the band left the stage to screams of “one more song!” but promising to return to meet fans by the merch booth.
Tuesday night’s show proved once again that the Lander sisters and Kittie are one of metal’s best kept secrets. Quality songwriting and killer live shows are a staple of the band’s work, and the ardent fan response to the new songs shows that the group is only improving with age. Look for Kittie to return in the not-to-far-off future, and for more on the new album, read San Antonio Metal Examiner Jay Nanda’s track-by-track review of I’ve Failed You by clicking here.
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