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Rainbow Kitten Surprise Rocks Kansas City!

Story and Photos: Haley Mullenix

This Tuesday, (12/13) Rainbow Kitten Surprise brought their world tour to The Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland here in the Power & Light District of Kansas City. Though the city was wet with rainfall, fans from all over lined the sidewalks eagerly waiting to join the warmth inside. Formed in 2013 RKS released their first album independently, all while attending college together in their home state of North Carolina. Since the beginning RKS have been not only artists but activists. In 2019 the band played shows around their state to raise money for Equality NC, the oldest statewide LGBTQ equality organization. Today they are teamed up with Propeller, an organization that connects fans and artists to create change. Their current campaign is aiming to raise awareness and support for mental health! By making donations, completing an online crisis training course, or learning more about the organization To Write Love on Her Arms, fans can earn points to enter for a chance to win round trip tickets to three sold out RKS New Years shows!

Joining RKS for their upcoming New Years shows as well as in Kansas City were the Nashville- based, self proclaimed “van dwellers” TWEN. Taking the stage they recounted the last time they were in KC, playing a much smaller venue to “probably two people.” With around 12,000 followers across all of their social platforms, they went on to point out that they are still a rather small band. Though their fan base is small, it is mighty and the band's sound is loud and commanding. I think they’re well on their way to major growth! Many RKS fans ran to TWEN’s instagram comments to announce the new addition to their playlists. With an endearing delivery, the words “Hope you’re making friends out there!” hit the crowd's ears. I noticed throughout the night that’s exactly what the crowd was doing, myself included. I also noticed RKS fans are generally very sweet and caring. I heard several “good job!” shoutouts as I left the photo pit which made me giggle. With this loving energy in the air I knew TWEN had done a great job getting the crowd ready for the main act whose message is just that.

When the time finally came for RKS I myself was buzzing with excitement! I’m a big fan of their music, but this was my first time seeing them live so I had no idea what to expect. A giant neon sign donning the band's symbol began to glow from the center of the stage, as all five members made their way on. In 2017 a fan who wanted the symbol tattooed thought it best to ask the band what the symbol means first. Lead singer Ela Melo cheekily replied "It's a play on the pagan symbol for earth. Means stay grounded mothaf@cka!" RKS consists of lead singer Ela, Jess Haney on drums, Charlie Holt on bass, Ethan Goodpaster on lead guitar, and Darrick “Bozzy” Keller on rhythm guitar.

As the drums kicked in and the show took off I was in awe at how much fun each member seemed to be having. The lights created a beautiful laser like display that paired interestingly with their sometimes folky sound. Their sound which has once been described as “religiously imaginative” with lyrics often pulling from biblical anecdotes.

As the lights dimmed after a number of songs, a voice from the dark stage proclaimed, “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.” Myself and I'm sure many others in the crowd found this statement to be comforting and encouraging in an ever changing world. As I made my way to the balcony above I found nearly the whole theater was singing each song as if it were their favorite. From the floor all the way to the furthest seats, friends hugged, jumped, and swayed through the set.

Closing out the night, the band jumped into the last song, It’s Called: Freefall off their 2018 album, How to: Friend, Love, Freefall. This particular song gained RKS a number of new fans after making the rounds on TikTok. Coming to an end, there were lots of hugs passed around and the band stayed for an extra minute to wave goodbye and thank the crowd.

The lights came on, but RKS made sure to keep the party going as Fergi’s ‘Fergalicious’ played over the speakers. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed myself and would 100% see Rainbow Kitten Surprise again! They are such a light and their message is one that resonates deeply.

If you’d like to learn more about the band and all the ways they use their platform for change, be sure to stay up to date with their socials! RKS also released a single back in April called Work Out so be sure to check that out as well!

Thank you to Rainbow Kitten Surprise for having me. It was an immense pleasure and I hope to catch another set sometime soon!

Sun, DEC 18 Saenger Theatre MobileMobile, AL

Mon, DEC 19Orpheum TheaterNew Orleans, LA

Thu, DEC 29 The EasternAtlanta, GA

Fri, DEC 30 The EasternAtlanta, GA

Sat, DEC 31 The EasternAtlanta, GA

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Rainbow Kitten Surprise


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