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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, January 29, 2023
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Fall 2022 Rainbow Kitten Surprise concert at The Sylvee.

Rainbow Kitten Surprise is, unsurprisingly, the cat’s pajamas

As expected, Rainbow Kitten Surprise put on an amazing show at The Sylvee. Fans waited in a line that stretched around the building, braving the cold to see the band’s first show in Madison since 2019, when they previously performed at the venue. 

Opening for Rainbow Kitten Surprise was Twen. Twen is a DIY band made up of three members from Nashville and two who live in a van that, according to lead singer Jane Fitzsimmons, they like to take to Florida when it’s cold. Upon appearing onstage, Fitzsimmons greeted the crowd by asking, “What’s up you cheesy freaks?” — and so I knew it was going to be a good show. 

Dynamic and genuine, Twen would be excellent entertainment at a ‘90s movie high school prom or perhaps a grunge mad hatter's tea party. Their sound is sludgy but bubbly, and their energy is great. Unrelated, Fitzsimmons was drinking from a cup of hot tea onstage, which I have never seen a singer do before and personally really enjoyed. I’d love to know what tea it was — based on the band’s vibes, I’m going to say hibiscus with mint, but we may never know the truth. 

Like a rainbow after the world’s coolest, grungiest storm, Rainbow Kitten Surprise was next. The band is electric as always and somehow more stylish than ever before. Lead singer Ela Melo once again knocked us dead with her dance moves — I am amazed she can do that many pirouettes and still sing. 

The band played songs old and new, and if I wasn’t far too blissed out by the music to remember specifics, I’m sure I’d have something special to say about their newest songs. But as it stands, all I can tell you is that it was no departure from the genre-bending amazingness we’ve all come to expect from Rainbow Kitten Surprise. 

A personal favorite moment from the show was bassist Charlie Holt finishing up the band’s hit song “Seven” with a skin-prickling, howl-esque final note. They aren’t often on the mic, but when they are, it’s always magical. It is also always fun to peek at drummer Jess Haney during the show — I don’t think he ever stops smiling. 

Rainbow Kitten Surprise never disappoints, whether in albums, singles or performances, and the Sylvee show was no exception — the band was electric as always. I personally will be chomping at the bit to see them again, and hope they return to Madison soon!

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