These kittens may have claws '“ but they'll still be plenty of fun
They've charmed audiences packed with thousands of metalheads armed with little more than their angelic voices and a keyboard.
Hopefully the lovely ladies of The Lounge Kittens will find The Wedgewood Rooms audience a touch less challenging when their Bringing Up The Rear tour hits Southsea next week.
The trio, Zan Lawther, Timia Gwendoline and Jenny Deacon, released their debut album, Sequins and C-Bombs, last September which saw them cover songs ranging from Marilyn Manson to Alice Cooper via Toto, Usher and House of Pain and more in their trademark cabaret style.
Zan spoke to The Guide before the tour began in a rare moment of calm for the three-piece.
‘We had a very busy last six months of last year, so it’s nice to have the time to remember that we’re human again and have a think about what we’re going to do next.
‘Everything we were doing last year was reactive – to the album coming out and to the tours. This year with that pressure off we can stop and think, right, what do we want to do? Where do we want to play? Who do we want to play with?’
They finished last year as opening act on the Status Quo and Reo Speedwagon arena tour.
‘That was so fun. We had an absolute blast, and we got to play in some of the biggest arenas in the country and Status Quo and Reo Speedwagon and their crews were all amazing and lovely, and looked after us like little pets.
‘We made some new fans and we had a wonderful time, and it was an interesting one as well to tailor our set – we only had 25 minutes to get people who had never heard of us before in on the joke, which is quite hard, so it was interesting doing that for a classic rock audience.’
The group first gained prominence through their metal covers – in particular after Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst saw the video for their version of his band’s hit Rollin’, which ultimately ended up with the Kittens opening for the band at metal festival Sonisphere.
So what are their musical tastes like?
‘It’s anything and everything,’ says Zan. ‘I’ve been a massive Status Quo fan all of my life, so that tour was dream come true stuff for me, but between the three of us, Jen has a very classical background, having studied various instruments from a very early age, Timia branches out into dance and I’m very rooted in the rock stuff and also into folk, and we all sort of meet in the middle with our love for metal and rock – and a lot of pop as well.
‘We do not agree on everything at all – sometimes two of us will be going,’ she shouts: ‘“I love that!” and the other one will be like: “I don’t get it”’ she cackles.
And they want to make sure that the metal covers don’t limit them.
‘It’s really important to us that it doesn’t pigeonhole us, as it’s only representative of one of the genres of music that we like between us, and that’s kind of the ethos of the band – we take songs that we like and do covers of them.
‘The thing with metal, to take the originals and to do what we do, the juxtaposition is so immense that it’s the funniest in a lot of ways – like with Slipknot, most people don’t even know what the words are because you can’t really hear them on the original.
‘But people would be bored of us by now if that’s all we did.’
‘The beauty of our live show is that you can hear all sorts, we do pop and hip-hop, and rock – in the same way that we can support Status Quo and go out and support Steel Panther. Why would we limit ourselves?’
Have they ever faced an audience that just didn’t get their act?
‘We’re really proud that we’ve always managed to turn at least part of the audience. We have gone out on stage, many times, to blank faces, or even quite aggressive, I’m-not-going-to-enjoy-this faces, and I think because we carry so much humanity in our live shows, we mock each other, we giggle, we make mistakes and we laugh about them on stage.
‘It breaks down the walls with people, even the ones who are there going: “I’m only going to enjoy metal, I’m never going to enjoy anything else, and I’m only standing at the front so that’s how I get to see Steel Panther”, or whatever.
‘But we’re quite careful with the bands that we choose to support, all of their fans have a sense of humour. They always laugh at themselves all the time, and they’re really easy going – their fans are out to have a good time. If you go to see Status Quo, you’re not their to hear their new experimental album, you’re there to hear the bangers and have a good night, and that’s basically what The Lounge Kittens is about.’
Being so well known for their covers, have they ever thought about doing their own, original material?
‘It’s something we talk about more and more at the moment. At the beginning we were: “No, we love covers!” We massively still enjoy doing what we do, but we have started very, very tentatively making our first steps toward original songs – but if we do follow that, they’ll be comedy songs for sure, otherwise we’re just three girls singing a nice song.’
Whatever the future holds for the Kittens, the word ‘fun’ is never far from what they do.
‘We just started it for fun. We’re still constantly surprised that it’s still going and how many people support it.’
The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea
Thursday, April 27