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Run With The Kittens

16-Apr-2008 05:14 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Run With The Kittens
The Horseshoe in Toronto, Ontario
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Run With The Kittens April 11, 2008
Full Photo Set (20 photos)

There's something unique going on with Run With The Kittens. Okay, I lie... unique, by definition, means one of a kind, unlike anything else, and that's not quite true. The last time I saw Run With The Kittens, I made a indirect reference to Frank Zappa, and that was intentional. The musical style isn't the same, but the combination of wicked musicianship with an off-centre sense of humour is something this band shares with with very few other bands - the two that come to mind for me are Frank Zappa and Ween, both of which I have been a long time fan. So a better word to describe the Kittens would be: rare.

Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens

Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens

Apparently playing every week at The Cameron House has provided ample opportunity for the band members to learn each other's visual cues, and so there's a tightness among their playing that is rare (there's that word again). During one song, Nate Mills (vocals, guitar) and Jake Olerichs (drums) put on a blatant display of timing accuracy that was not only incredible to watch, it was a fairly cool musical highlight of the song. Each member brings a certain visual aspect to the band, with Nate providing an incredible repertoire of facial expressions, poses, and vocal stylings, James Robertson (lead guitar) smiles his way through some wicked slide guitar and other six-string manoeuvres, Nigel Hebblewhite (bass) supports Nate with bass and back-up expressions, and Jake on drums having such a great time that you wish you were up there on stage with him.

Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens

Last time, Run With The Kittens provided a corn-chucking female body-builder on stage, which was definitely a first for me. This time, they arrived clad in baggy white pants and shiny gold windbreakers that Nate declared as fashion over function due to their weight-loss inducing properties. As for firsts, I would have to say the big first this time was watching Nate sing his way through the big finish of one song while spooning Activia yogurt into his mouth. Good to know he's keeping regular with the power of probiotic cultures. The encore was played without the gold suits, or really any clothes except boxers and undershirts. Hilarious and musically tight right to the finish.

Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens

One last thing: When I arrived on the scene, it was maybe 20 minutes before the Kittens set; they were due on at midnight. The crowd was drinking, but the ambiance was decidedly subdued. I expected it to be more crowded at the stage. I expected there to be the same general rowdiness that I experienced at the last concert. It turns out I just wasn't patient enough because once they got started, the crowd moved in. People who had never even heard of the Kittens before were up at the stage dancing and causing general mayhem. Yes, I may have even been kissed aggressively on the cheek by a guy I didn't know. It was the band that induced the behaviour in the crowd, and everyone, including me, had an amazing time. And let's face it, that's why were out there in the first place. New rule: Never miss Run With The Kittens at The Horseshoe.

Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens
Run With The Kittens

Here, watch this. Seriously, watch it, it's only a 1 minute 25 seconds of your life:


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