“Looks like it’s going to be an intimate one this evening” murmurs Kitti Ménage darkly. We’re in the basement of that junction diner near Old Street that looks like it just landed out of a hurricane. Neon signs flickering, badly applied lipstick, the B52s playing dominoes in one corner etc.
We’re here to see Das Kitten, the postcamden electro-pop duo who feature in the current issue of Gay Times. Here they are:
Donning the stage in translucent sheets rimmed with synthetic flowers, the band unveil themselves to reveal toned thighs bustling out of cock-squashing shorts, loose tunic tops and novelty sunglasses. Their costume designer Patience Harding is at the show and cannot help smiling a little at the results of her genius. The band look like henchmen of an impossibly gay dictator, or perhaps nightclub promoters on a package holiday in Hades. It’s a strong look:
The costumes are identical but the Kittens offer a perpendicular twin-set of two very different spectacles. It's like they’re finalists in a lookalike contest for someone only they can see. Watching Tom Cat sing is like watching a young Neil Tennant put on a play for his university German seminar. There are elements of mime acting, story-telling and a very visible protectiveness over the core emotions of each song.
Meanwhile watching Kitti Ménage is like witnessing a live Derek Jarman porno starring Stamper from Tomorrow Never Dies. He bulldozes his way fantastically inelegantly across foreign solo sections, tempo changes and rapid fire wordplay, then around unexpected corners he surprises the audience with sudden flourishing spirals of sensitivity. Combined with the shorts, it’s Tom of Finland doing New Romantics and it’s very watchable:
The band play six songs. Furry Kind of Fun, 9 Lives, Get In My Eurozone, Ready To Love, Popstar and Anything More.
Furry Kind of Fun is a good opener, it's upbeat, it sets the scene and it clears a space for gay culture to accomodate the imminent trail of never-ending cat puns that Das Kitten are about to deliver.
9 Lives is a strong pop song and is the most take-home tune of the night. Get In My Eurozone is fittingly ruined by three drunkards in suits who start shouting along at the back turning it into a kind of underground socio-political Macarena.
For Popstar Kittie Ménage sits in the wings and a guitarist is brought on. The guitar solo, played by Jamie Travis, gives the song a sexual edge in a similar fashion to Kate Bush’s And So Is Love or even Skin by Rihanna. If only the guitarist was in costume too though. A jock-strap and a crown of plastic flowers next time please boys.
Closing number Anything More features the rather daunting line “Some people are satisfied with a certain kind of life, but I will always back down and take it like your wife.” The duo leave the venue with the synths still rolling behind, a popular trick for East London electro show ponies as seen with bands like Your Distant Family and Fuck Buttons.
Have a listen to Anything More here. It's really good:
Listen to 9 Lives here:
Das Kitten could easily hold the attention of a larger audience. They’ve got the look, they’ve got the sound, they can write songs and they’ve managed to scratch themselves a patch on London’s underground music scene already.
With bigger gigs and bigger flames in their YouTube hot air balloon Das Kitten could make it as a fully fledged niche electro act with a record contract. But there’s a hint of more potential lingering too. They need to focus on their songwriting talent and pen themselves a killer hit, something to lead their current repertoire that condenses their sound into an atomic, possibly eponymous, song. And with that, the capes, the legs and the cat claws – they could plan a pop invasion. It’s a tall order though.
There's always Eurovision to fall back on.