RUN WITH THE KITTENS as part of the Collective Independence Party at the Gladstone Hotel, tonight (Thursday, August 4). Free. 416-531-4635. Also playing at Mitzi's Sister (1554 Queen West), Saturday (August 6). $tba. 416-532-2570. And at the Cameron House (408 Queen West), Tuesday (August 9). $tba. 416-703-0811.
According to Nate Mills, frontman for quirk-centric Toronto quartet Run with the Kittens, his band makes people experience a delicate mix of sensual positives and negatives.
"It's like a massage from a hooker with cold hands," says Mills, alongside bassist Nigel Hebblewhite, over shots of scotch at a trendy resto-bar on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre. "You're feeling the hands on your back and it feels good, but they're cold hands. On top of that, you still have to pay for it."
If I can complete the analogy, it's worth every penny. Run with the Kittens' spectacles (every Tuesday at the Cameron House) are notoriously outlandish, a kaleidoscopic costumed entertainment mish-mash that leaves folks' laughter-related muscles sore.
"In the words of John Cougar, 'it hurts so good,'" Hebblewhite offers.
RWTK's rock medicine has proven to be the right antidote in any number of contexts. They've got the oddest gigging schedule you've ever heard.
After this week's shows, they'll head to Chicago to play as part of the entertainment at a Notre Dame vs. UCLA football game. Shortly thereafter, they'll return to the Huronia Regional Centre - a home for the developmentally challenged in Orillia where Mills's uncle worked as entertainment director - for their yearly performance of Ghostbusters.
"Before our first performance there, my uncle told us that these guys are Ghostbusters-obsessed and warned us that it'd be good to know that song. When we showed up and busted out our first tune, it got a mild response, but as soon as we started playing Ghostbusters, the wheelchairs started rocking and no crutch was still."
"We played the reggae Ghostbusters, Rotterdam Ghostbusters - the Euro-trash Ghostbusters," says Hebblewhite.
"We carried that with us," adds Mills. "But now we're wearily stepping back, because people everywhere ask us to play Ghostbusters. It's, like, am I still at the mental institute?"
So don't expect to hear any Ray Parker Jr. covers on their self-titled album, which drops October 4. Do, however, expect a highly amusing genre-obliterating stir-fry that makes Midnite Vultures sound like Dido with the volume low.
"People say we're 'refreshing' because there are so many ho-hum shoegazer bands and people who write a pretty song in their bedroom and don't know how to go out and perform.
"It doesn't have to be mod hairstyles, you know," says Mills, mussing his hair into an indie coif.
"Life didn't turn out how I thought it would," says Hebblewhite, air-guitaring with a tortured look. "My parents lied to me....
"The entertainment factor is paramount. So in terms of how tight or how sloppy or out of tune or whatever - it's the drive and the passion that we all get off on. We take our fun very seriously."