For their first show in Montana, Rainbow Kitten Surprise took the stage with exploding energy, warmly welcomed by an audience of fans who knew every word.
Only occurring once before since the Wilma remodel, with Shakey Graves in 2015, the May 1 show, originally booked at the Top Hat, was moved to the Wilma due to high demand.
The sold out venue packed tight with bright eyed Missoulians as folk band Caamp opened the night with laid back, cheerful tunes that had the room swaying their hips and clapping their hands.
Excitement bubbled and lights strobed in suspenseful introduction, the crowd screaming when Rainbow Kitten Surprise entered the stage to begin with the funky tune of “Fever Pitch.”
Hailing from North Carolina, the dynamic indie pop band consists of lead vocalist and keyboardist Sam Melo, guitarist and back up vocalist Darrik “Bozzy” Keller, electric guitarist Ethan Goodpaster, drummer Jess Haney and bassist Charlie Holt.
Melo, ecstatic with expression, bounced across the stage the entire night spinning and soaring, often falling forward to interact with his audience. He made a point throughout the night to make eye contact and reach for fan’s hands who reached back, shouting with passion and mesmerization.
Soulful and pensive, he cried out tight conversational lyrics through a sweet and distinct voice songs like “American Shoes,” “Devil like me,” and “Cocaine Jesus,” backed by a band who spun circles around each other doing jigs.
With full bodied energy, they danced between grooving, rocking tunes and slower, subtle melodies, building until the spastic yet graceful Melo ripped his shirt off, the crowd going wild for their skyrocketing verve.
Summoned back for an encore Melo’s piano solo of soft cascading chords brought the rest of the giddy band on stage, hitting the last song hard with buoyant electric guitar riffs that left the Wilma glowing as spectators headed out into the spring night
-Written by Noelle Huser