Why Rainbow Kitten Surprise Is Slowly Taking Over the Rock Realm

By: Benjamin Tillis

In March 2017, Rainbow Kitten Surprise performed in front of 500 people at Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. Just over a year later, in May of 2018, the alternative folk rock band headlined one of two sold out shows at Hollywood’s Fonda Theater, a venue that seats 1,200. Needless to say, RKS’ rise to fame has been quick, and based on their electric performance and quality new album, it is likely they will soon be a well-known name to most rock music fans.

On April 6th, Rainbow Kitten Surprise released their third studio album How to: Friend, Love, Freefall, a space-themed, 36-minute record that expands on RKS’ raw sound and witty lyrics. The biggest development from previous albums was lead singer Sam Melo’s addition of rap verses as heard in songs like “When It Lands.” RKS primarily performed songs from their new release, but still stayed true to old fans by playing classics like “Devil Like Me” and “Seven.”

 Rainbow Kitten Surprise. Photo Credit: Emily Quirk 

Rainbow Kitten Surprise. Photo Credit: Emily Quirk 

What was most exciting about the band’s recent Fonda performance was each member’s energy throughout the show. Melo, a trained dancer, never stopped twirling around stage, bouncing from front and center upstage to playing the piano across stage, often multiple times in one song. He seemed to be acting out each of his theatrically written lyrics with every dance move and hand gesticulation. Lead guitarist and backup vocalist Darrick “Bozzy” Keller didn’t refrain from showing his energy either. He rocked back in forth to the music and did not hold back when he briefly took the role of lead singer for parts of their song “Recktify.”

The performance of the night had to be on “Hide,” which is arguably the best received single from the new album. Written by Melo about recently his personal journey of coming out as gay, the song touches on finding and accepting love, and the track was released with a powerful music video which follows drag queens in the rural south who revealing their identities to their family in the video. Fans have been quick to claim this as their favorite new song, and all were pleased, but not surprised, when RKS started playing "Hide" track near the closing of their set.

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After announcing the band had two more songs, RKS went ahead and delivered three tracks before coming out for a five-song encore that finished with a head-banging “Run.” The crew blew the fans away throughout their entire set, and there is no telling what size venue they will play on their next Los Angeles run. But something tells us it’s going to be big. Bowl show anyone? Fingers crossed for RKS' rock takeover. 

-Benjamin

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.