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Bands to Watch #22: Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

 
By on Tuesday, 29th July 2008 at 6:23 pm
 

With their quiffs, red lipstick and vintage shirts, you’d be forgiven for thinking this rockabilly trio had just stepped out of the 1950’s. Meet Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, the North London siblings who count Ray Charles and Little Richard as the muse for their latest boogie woogie offerings.

They have already supported Razorlight and Mika and are set to release their second album. The twist to this Von Trapp hillbilly affair? These kids are just 15, 17 and 20.

“Since we were little we’ve always been playing music together at home as a family,” Kitty says.

“Our dad used to sing to us at bed time, songs like ‘Honolulu Rock a Roll a’ and Louis Prima’s ‘Buona Sera.'”

“It’s just the music we love because it makes you feel good. It has a good energy and a live raw sound.

“Most of all it makes you want to dance because it rocks!”

They have built a huge word-of-mouth audience through a string of gigs and festival appearances. And that’s not all. The brother and two sisters play guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica, double bass, ukulele, trombone and accordion between them.

“We are definitely a musical family,” Kitty says.

“We had a double bass which my dad used to sit me on top of while he played, and we had the odd harmonica lying around that we could fiddle with.”

“Dad showed us a couple of chords on the guitar and we just picked it up from there. ”

They came together almost by accident at a country and rockabilly jam seven years ago. When asked onstage, they played an impromptu version of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ with Lewis on the banjo, Kitty on drums and Daisy on accordion.

Their passion for vintage music led to their compilation ‘A to Z – Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – The Roots Of Rock n Roll’ being named one of the Guardian’s 2007 ‘Albums Of The Year – 5/5’.

Now they are set to release their second album- a mixture of the covers their Dad used to sing to them, along with new material like ‘Buggin’ Blues.’ The album leads with the new single ‘Going up the Country’ – a summertime jam with harmonica solos and handclaps galore.

Ooo Wee, make way for the coolest kids in town.

‘Kitty, Daisy & Lewis’, the album, is out now on Sunday Best Recordings.

 

Live Review: The Polyphonic Spree @ The Astoria

 
By on Tuesday, 4th September 2007 at 2:22 am
 

The Polyphonic Spree in their Fragile Army UniformsSometimes a band comes across as a bit of a gimmick, a good one-trick pony. At first I thought The Polyphonic Spree were just this, a (large) collective with three albums of the same summery tunes. However, after being coaxed into going to see them, I quickly changed my mind – they’re a force to be reckoned with, ensuring that whoever is around them can’t help but feel the summer is here.

Opening up the show, a town crier and his son introduced the band with a bit of pantomime-audience participation, before a red banner was draped across the stage whilst the entire band assembled in their places allowing “musical director” Tim DeLaughter cut a heart shaped window into the fabric. The band revealed, things got off to a flying start. The band have ditched their traditional choral robes for this tour, instead opting for army-style jackets, all with the “Fragile Army” logos on – the Spree have got Political.

Flowing into one continuous piece of music, the 22 member band managed to remain as tight as anything, with DeLaughter directing all the action throughout. Epic wasn’t the word, as they plunged through a setlist that would keep everyone happy: from the diehard b-sides fan through to those of us who only knew the classics. “Soldier Girl” was thrown into the set quite early, providing a chance for DeLaughter to come down to the front, and get generally mauled by the crowd. “Hold Me Now” saw mass hug-sessions from groups of friends, loving couples, and the just plain drunk.

The Polyphonic Spree - back in their robes and going for itAll too soon, it was announced that it was time for them to go, slowly leaving the stage one by one until only the harpist is left remaining, and crowd are left chanting for more. Soon enough, the band emerge. In the balcony. In their traditional robes. Congo-ing along the balcony rows, they make their way down to the stalls and through the crowd, making it up to the stage one by one, security counting them in and the band launching into one hell of a jam. Soon, Tim emerges, crowd surfing his way to the front to launch into a cover of Nirvana’s Lithium. To some of you, this will appear to be sacrilege, however it was absolutely amazing – the lyrics shining through and the self-loathing of the song becomes ironic with the whole band in tow.

Soon enough the end is upon us, DeLaughter seeming genuinely touched by the crowds reception, wishing a light-hearted farewell: “I hope y’all can still remember how to ride your bikes – you’re gonna need ‘em with this bitch of a tube strike!”, and with the final flourish of an old Tripping Daisy (DeLaughter’s old band) song “Sonic Bloom” they were gone, in a flourish of colour. Whilst we were coming down from the amazing high, we had to admit: they’re no one trick pony: they’re a force to be reckoned with. Make sure you catch them next time they’re in the capital.

Continue reading Live Review: The Polyphonic Spree @ The Astoria

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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