The Lounge Kittens + Grant Sharkey at Bush Hall Review

This past Friday (29th March), myself and a couple of friends made our way to Shepherd’s Bush to see The Lounge Kittens on their tour in support of their brand-new EP, ‘Have Another…’. For anyone who isn’t familiar with TLK, they are a 3-piece group who primarily cover Rock and Pop music favourites in a Lounge music style – songs ranging from Slipknot’s ‘Duality’ to David Bowie’s ‘Changes’ to Toto’s ‘Africa’, and all sorts in between. As well as their full song covers, they also have a whole heap of medleys at their disposal, which frequently become mass sing-alongs in the live show. But more on that in a moment.

 The Lounge Kittens’ New EP, ‘Have Another…’. Image via  The Lounge Kittens  The Lounge Kittens’ New EP, ‘Have Another…’. Image via The Lounge Kittens

Before we get to the show itself, I just want to say a little bit about the new EP. ‘Have Another…’ features 6 songs, starting with DJ Fresh’s 2013 Drum & Bass classic, ‘Gold Dust’, and ending with Thunder’s 1991 Hard Rock ballad ‘Love Walked In’. Sandwiched between these, you can find System of a Down’s ‘Violent Pornography’, Jimmy Eat World’s ‘The Middle’, Omi’s ‘Cheerleader’ and Linkin Park’s ‘One Step Closer’. An eclectic mix of genres to say the least, but here’s the thing, when you’re taking those various songs and arranging them to fit the Lounge sound the band is known for, the genre really doesn’t matter. If you went into this EP completely unaware of any of the song’s origins, I wager you’d have no idea how eclectic a bunch the songs are – they are all performed brilliantly, all fit the sound that’s been given to them, and above all else, all sound killer together. Definitely worth checking out the EP, it’s available wherever you listen to music.

Now then, to the show itself. I’d never been to Bush Hall before, I’ll admit that when I first walked in, I was taken aback a little, it genuinely is basically a village hall randomly situated in the middle of a street in Shepherd’s Bush. It has something of a cosy feel to it, which in the end I think added to the experience. First up on stage was support act, Grant Sharkey, a man I hadn’t really heard of ahead of seeing him last night. Grant takes centre stage alongside his double bass, which is nearly as big as he is, if not bigger! Grant’s songs on the evening were mostly political, perhaps fitting the mood of the country on what was originally supposed to be Brexit Day (eurgh). Almost as soon as he was on stage, Grant seemed to have won the crowd over to his side, which was good to see, and seemed to hold the audience for the entirety of his 40-minute set, with songs on the topics of Wetherspoons, Vladimir Putin and racism. The real star of his set however is the double bass, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the instrument played with such aplomb and in such a way – no bows here, mostly plucking and slapping the strings. I really enjoyed Grant Sharkey’s set, and am looking forward to checking out more of his music. The bio on his website especially has made me all the more interested in what he’s doing.

 Grant Sharkey onstage at Bush Hall. Image via  Grant Sharkey  Grant Sharkey onstage at Bush Hall. Image via Grant Sharkey

Of course, however, we were all here to see The Lounge Kittens in what turned out to be a very triumphant London show. The 3 ladies were on fine form, the harmonies and humour emanating from them in glorious fashion, as you would expect. Before I even touch on the music, I just want to mention how brilliant it is to see a band on stage genuinely having fun whilst playing, the girls would often have a little giggle between themselves, dance around the stage, and a great number of gurns were aimed in the audience’s direction. It really adds to a show when everyone in the room is having fun, not just the audience. So much kudos to TLK for that!

Setlist wise, the show saw a great mix of covers from across their career, songs from both of their Eps, as well as their full-length album ‘Sequins & C-Bombs’, all made appearances, as well as a couple of songs that haven’t been released before. My personal highlight was a cover of Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’, which was genuinely unexpected. Even more unexpected, however, was the fact they segued this song into a cover of the Bloodhound Gang’s ‘Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo’, possibly the only time both artists have even been thought of in the same breath. Elsewhere, 2 different medleys provided incredibly poignant moments in the evening. This day being the day of Keith Flint’s funeral, it only made sense to play their Prodigy medley, and it was great to hear it in a more stripped to basics version than it is appears on the album. However, the main moment of poignancy came just before TLK played their Avicii medley. Avicii unfortunately killed himself last year after suffering with mental health issues, and in a speech by Zan (the Pink Kitten) before playing it, she implored everyone to help end the stigma around mental health, a sentiment that I hope we can all agree on.

 The Lounge Kittens pre-show at Bush Hall. Image via  The Lounge Kittens  The Lounge Kittens pre-show at Bush Hall. Image via The Lounge Kittens

The night ended with what TLK call their ‘Bangers Medley’, which takes in songs from the likes of Queen, Feeder, The Who, Heart, Cher and many others. Herein lies the real beauty of the Lounge Kittens, in those moments where they can not only give the audience a massive sing along, but also give their musical prowess a chance to shine, and really let their voices and harmonies soar alongside the music. The 3 Kittens are all brilliant singers in their own right, but when they come together, there are moments that genuinely make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Their set was around 1 hour and 35 minutes long, and not a moment of that time was wasted, whether telling a funny story about a dream Jen (the Red Kitten) had, or their now infamous T-Rexican Wave, there was never a dull moment. A special shout out, as well, to Timia (the Blue/Green Kitten) whose prowess when it comes to covering Guitar solos vocally must surely be unmatched! Above all, it was a great show, and a very hot show as well, a special kudos to the ladies on stage for managing to keep the energy going throughout in one of the hottest rooms I’ve ever stood in! If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing The Lounge Kittens live, make sure you do next time they’re in town. It’s guaranteed fun! Thanks to Zan, Jen, Timia and Grant for a great night!

(P.S. I went with Neale, also from UDS, who had never seen TLK before. When asked if he would see them again, he said ‘yes, I would see them again’. A shining endorsement for you there!)

By Matt Dobbie

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