Show Review - Kittie Burn's Grunge Carnival

Review by Tiffany Naugler

I woke up on Sunday pretty much feeling like death...
Dan and I had been out doing the HPX thing for over 12 hours straight the day/night before on top of all the other shows we packed into a 5 days... I think my personal,'bands i saw' count for HPX was 26 or something... thats a lot. Needless to say, I was a little groggy and irritable when I headed out to Gus' for this show...

When I walked into Gus', I expected everything to be as it was every other night I go there...
Boy was I wrong. The normal autumn forest wallpaper behind the stage was covered with white and yellow striped wallpaper, stuffed animals and balloons were all over the floor. A big sign saying 'applause' covered the kick drum and a banner stating 'Scene One' was at the stage front.
The whole set up immediately brightened my spirits.

Soon after, KITTIE BURN'S Grunge Carnival - a Garage Rock Opera began....

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Instead of trying to explain exactly what went down, I asked Kim Carson of Hot Yoga (Kittie Burn) a couple of questions to fill you in. Check out the photos and video too in order to get the full effect.

So for us who are clueless about these things, what exactly is a rock opera and how does it differ than your regular ole rock show?

A rock opera is telling a story through rock music using multiple songs and/or scenes in the same way a traditional opera would. It differs from a regular rock show in that, 1. It tells a story and 2. much of it flows together as if one continuing song.

What is the story behind the Kittie Burn's Grunge Carnival? What exactly happens in the story? (Gus' isn't exactly the best place to hear crisp vocals)

We realized it would be tough to hear all the vocals, particularly at Gus', so we decided to read a brief synopsis of events between each scene. We also gave out programs at the door with the a synopsis of each scene, so people could follow along. Our rock opera is divided into 4 scenes, the music flows together through each scene and breaks between scenes.

Here is a brief summery, (without giving away the ending).
Kittie Burn's Grunge Carnival is set in a small town, in the fall, while the carnival is in town. It revolves around a girl named Alison Letterbox, who, while her lover, Kittie Burn, is on the road, gets pregnant with the son of a taxi driver, named Chaze. When the baby is born and Kittie Burn is back in town, Alison finds is hard to deal with the emotions of both her lovers and distracts herself by spending all her time at the carnival. She eventually falls in love with a carnie named Hector. As the townspeople gossip, and Chaze threatens to take the baby, Alison must make a decision between her three lovers.

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Who wrote the rock opera? What was the inspiration behind it?

I wrote the rock opera. My Hot Yoga band mate Wyatt Carson helped me out with the music and character building. The inspiration came from several things, the most obvious would be The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, particularly the performance by The Who of "A Quick One, While He's Away", (their first rock opera). I have always liked the idea of using a story to bring songs together, especially since it opens the door for role playing, costumes, set design, and investing the listener in the music in a new way.

When the opera was written, was it written in with the idea of performing it in a venue of some sort in mind or did that come after?

The rock opera was definitely written with the idea of performing it, and I was lucky enough to have so many great musicians come on board and help me out. We had Neil Peacock, of the Fantods, Michelle Skelding, of No Flyers Please, Jillian Comeau, Wyatt Carson and myself, and everyone worked really hard to learn the opera, sing the parts, and pull it off in a really short time. 

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 Where on earth did you find the coat that you wore as Kittie Burn? It is amazing!

Ahh, the coat isn't mine, but i've been lucky enough to have it lent to me, it's pretty old, and heavy, i was kind of stuck in it after the show.

and finally, will you be writing more rock operas in the future? Give us the inside scoop!

I don't think I'll be writing any more rock operas any time soon. We will be doing more performances of this one though, staring with a Saturday show at Reflections in December. We hope that with the extra time we will be able to really bring the rock opera to a new level, elaborate on the songs, get more interaction between the characters, etc.
I'm very excited to keep playing The Grunge Carnival, and to keep working with these great musicians! 


The second band to hit the stage was The Stillframes...
I don't know what it was but for some reason this band didn't 100% fly with me. The music was good... I enjoyed that part, but the vocals, well.... stale.
You can tell that their vocalist is a good singer, she carries a tune quite nicely... but that was just it, it was nice. The rockin' tunes coming from the band would have been complemented so much more by a singer who actually felt what they were singing, who didn't care if they hit a wrong note or sounded a little rough around the edges. She danced around the stage like she was comfortable up there, but she still sounded like she was scared to open her mouth. For some reason I pictured her doing really well in an acoustic, singer song writer type deal... not fronting this band.

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The other issue I had with The Stillframes vocalist is that every time there was a song that she didn't sing in... she sat on the steps leading up to the stage, or even just jumped off the stage and went to the bar and got a drink. If your fronting a band... don't just get up and leave halfway through your set... that's such a diva move. Dance around, grab a tambourine, play air guitar... something!

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I was told later, that this was The Stillframes NEW singer... so I can sort of excuse some of this...
If I get the chance to see these guys again in a couple of months after they have some more shows under the belt, I will gladly take it - cause they were really catchy to listen to at times!


Last up was the Curious Sofa... I had no idea what to expect from this band really...
I was pleasantly surprised with the little quartet - Neil and Gary (from the Fantods) on guitar and drums always make for a good combo and well... their bassist blew my socks off! I loves me a bass player any day, but this guy was up there playing in a rock band, on a fretless bass like was no big deal. He was intense to watch. I had mentioned that I would have guessed he was classically trained on upright bass, his movements up and down the neck of that guitar were just way too fluid (later in the evening my guess was confirmed).  Vocals were 100% better this time around... Their singer didn't come off as having the great singing voice, but she freaking owned it. She sang, and you believed, that she believed in what she was singing about. It was energetic and fun and this being the bands debut on the live scene, I look forward to checking out later on in their career.

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All in all, a night I thought was going to have a hard job staying awake for turned into a pretty solid night of fun! If you get the chance to check out KITTIE BURN'S Grunge Carnival, Garage Rock Opera - DO IT!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Just came across your blog and was really impressed with the focused and structured concepts. This represents an expansion of perimeters in the genre, the "folk music" of the new age. The people have reclaimed music and I hope they carry on. Well done!