Rainbow Kitten Surprise begin their sold-out three-night run in Atlanta to kick off New Year's Eve.
Fresh off of their fall tour, Rainbow Kitten Surprise look to cap off their year with a bang in The Big A. The band, composed of frontwoman Ela Melo (she/her), guitarist Darrick Keller (he/him), guitarist Ethan Goodpaster (he/him), bassist Charlie Holt (they/them), and drummer Jess Haney (he/him), has had quite the year, ranging from cancelled tours, TikTok virality, and much more. Their mini residency at The Eastern features a different special guest each night, Annie DiRusso, Twen, and The Brook & The Bluff, respectively.
Nashville's Annie DiRusso opened up the night with a wild an energetic start. Clad in matching monochromatic Hawaiian print dresses, DiRusso and her band stayed candid yet exciting, never once ceasing the energy. Annie's prominence in the room was incredible, capturing the stage with ease and echoing off the walls with her huge swells and yelps. Her songs were incredibly personal, capturing real, intimate moments of life from the perspective of a twenty-something college kid. DiRusso's song "Infinite Jest" really showcased everything that made her stand out; wild and contagious energy, huge momentum shifts, and heartfelt lyrics.
Rainbow Kitten Surprise wasted no time, jumping straight into a chaotic and joyous night of folk-laden indie rock. The band's hit song "Cocaine Jesus" came early in the setlist, instantly catapulting an already ravenous crowd into a frenzy. The audience, dressed in their New Year's finest (and some rainbow cat ears) were more than prepared for the occasion. The band rarely seemed to let off the gas, fully committed to the performance. The set felt high-speed, with the band's onstage chemistry and presence being representative of the best of the best.
However, RKS is a band capable of more than just providing a fun night out. Their music is often times incredibly moving, sometimes downright crushing on the heart. My mind immediately jumps to "Hide", an emotive ballad aimed at revealing one's true self to a loved one, specifically Ela Melo coming out as gay to her mother. Then there is "Work Out", the band's latest single. This song, in all its wordiness and poetic construct, hits like a truck. It is rare, and impressive, for a song to carry this much weight, and when translated to a live setting it hits even harder.
"Devil Like Me" saw the audience washed in red light, as the impending drums and percussion rattle your core. Ela's haunting vocals carried across the multi-tiered concert hall, captivating the listeners. The band does this perfectly time and time again, crafting together each element of the song, from instrumentation to vocals, the production, and the performance to create a flawless segment. RKS repeat this formula consistently, piecing together a show that has been curated from the top down.
“First Class” was wonderful and warm acoustic guitar driven song, featuring glistening mirror balls and ethereal lighting. The song swells up and crashes into you with a wave of delight, its upbeat and happy music couldn't be ignored, with even security smiling in the back corner. The band's full setlist is below, with other stand out tracks being "Goodnight Chicago" and "It's Called: Freefall".
2. Cold Love
5. The Comedown
6. Cocaine Jesus
7. Hey Pretty Mama
8. Goodnight Chicago
9. Bare Bones
10. Shameful Company
11. Our Song
12. Devil Like Me
14. Counting Cards
15. All's Well That Ends
16. Fever Pitch
17. First Class
18. Work Out
19. That's My Shit
21. When It Lands
22. Drop Stop Roll
23. It's Called: Freefall
Rainbow Kitten Surprise hit the stage at The Eastern two more times this weekend to round out 2022. The new year will see the quintet travel across the Atlantic, hitting South Africa and Europe before returning to the U.S. for festival season. Their full dates are below.
12/30 Atlanta, GA — The Eastern^ (SOLD OUT)
12/31 Atlanta, GA — The Eastern+ (SOLD OUT)
3/10 Cape Town, ZA — Kristenbosch National Botanical Garden
3/11 Johannesburg, ZA — Marks Park Sports Club
3/15 Paris, FR — La Maroquinerie
3/16 Zürich, CH — Dynamo
3/18 Vienna, AT — Flex (SOLD OUT)
3/19 Munich, DE — Technikum (SOLD OUT)
3/20 Prague, CZ — MEETFACTORY
3/22 Warsol, PO — Progresja
3/23 Berlin, DE — Columbia Theater (SOLD OUT)
3/25 Amsterdam, NL — Melkweg (SOLD OUT)
3/26 Hamburg, DE — Gruenspan (SOLD OUT)
3/27 Cologne, DE — Die Kantine (SOLD OUT)
3/29 Manchester, UK — Manchester Academy
3/30 Birmingham, UK — O2 Institute2
3/31 London, UK — Roundhouse
4/02 Glasgow, UK — Galvanizers Yard
4/03 Dublin, IR — The Academy, Middle Abbey Street (SOLD OUT)
4/04 Dublin, IR — The Academy, Middle Abbey Street (SOLD OUT)
4/15-16 North Charleston, SC — High Water Fest 2023
5/19-21 Gulf Shores, AL — Hangout Music Festival 2023
* with Annie DiRusso
^ with twen
+ with The Brook & The Bluff
Rainbow Kitten Surprise prove once again why they are one of the best bands touring the world today. Their passion and drive for the craft are immediately clear, and they show no signs of slowing down. A tumultuous few years may have put a pause on the band's live endeavors, but it certainly couldn't stop them. Rainbow Kitten Surprise is the band to see in 2023.