Material: While they describe themselves as “Americana-Punk/Garage-Country,” Bad Bad Meow definitely has a taste of New Wave and Pop-Rock as well. Their music is infectious with memorable melodic lines, interesting rhythms and clever lyrics. The band’s live show draws mainly from unreleased material, as well as favorites from past releases such as “Big Phat Pussycat,” “Drink & Regret” and “Run Through the Middle.”
Musicianship: Alen Khan, who writes all the songs for Bad Bad Meow, is a strong vocalist, an entertaining frontman, and a solid acoustic, rhythm guitarist. Natalie Grace Alford is a skilled keyboardist, and her background vocals add another dimension to the music. Guitarist Greg Peerbolt wails and shreds and complements Khan’s playing well, while bassist Stan Träger and drummer, Tommy Mendoza, are the rhythmic cement that hold everything together. There is no doubt that this band is talented.
Performance: From their first song, “Pretty Famous People,” all the way to the end of their set, Bad Bad Meow captured the small, yet enthusiastic audience’s attention and held it. They had good energy and interacted with the crowd in between songs. The entire band looked comfortable on stage. The only setback to their performance was that there was barely anyone there to see it. Even for a Wednesday night, the crowd seemed tiny with less than 20 people, including the bar staff.
Bad Bad Meow might consider bringing musical variety to their set with more extreme high and low moments, or maybe even some sort of gimmick or onstage antics to make the listener’s experience even more interactive and entertaining. Perhaps adding an audience sing-along would help, but the music really speaks for itself. They are an excellent live band. It’s a shame that Chicago does not seem to have discovered them yet.
Summary: The wonderfully clever and melodic songwriting of Khan is what brings this stellar group of musicians together. They sound great and feed off each other amazingly well. To bring this band’s live show to the next level, they will need to make their performance more musically dramatic and visually entertaining. Chicago, you don’t know what you are missing...and what you are missing is awesome.
The Players: Alen Khan, guitar, vocals; Natalie Grace Alford, keyboards, vocals; Greg Peerbolt, guitar; Stan Träger, bass; Tommy Mendoza, drums.
Venue: Abbey Pub
City: Chicago, IL