Material: It’s an unusual night at The Whisky, with the average age of the performers being between 12 and 15. Topping the bill is the more seasoned and decidedly more risqué Kicking Harold.
Lead vocalist and songwriter Tim David Kelly is a great storyteller. “Dance To The Radio” offers a hopeful glimmer of character transformation and “Fred's New Dress” is a highly descriptive tale of a Catholic cross- dresser. Kelly is also strong with hooks, internal rhyming within a single phrase and generally connecting to the zeitgeist on songs like “American Nitro” with catchy lyrics like: “I'm crazy, like DeNiro, Scorcese.”
Musicianship: The band describes themselves as grunge, and that tone is most apparent in material like “Kill You” and “Down On You.” Those songs definitely share an Alice In Chains vibe straight down to the guitar effects and excellent harmonizing by Kelly and Domrose. The band is mostly tight, with solid stops on “Drinkin’ To Forget You” and “Smash & Burn.”
Kelly generates in driving, funky-chunky tone for rhythm and really works his vibrato technique on punchy instrumentals. Odabashian and Domrose nail a double-timed transition on “Dance To The Radio” and are mostly in sync throughout the set.
Performance: Domrose helps mix up the set by taking over on vocals for an edgier cover of the Delaney & Bonnie and Friends' classic “Superstar.” Kelly engages the audience throughout the performance and gets the audience to sing along for the show finale. Despite only being a fill-in for the night, Odabashian is the literal show stopper, schooling everyone who came before with arguably the strongest drum finale of the night.
Summary: Kicking Harold has a high octane formula; tight little packages of rock with similar melody lines and rhythm patterns. The band categorizes itself rightly as alternative pop for this very reason: short and sweet songs with a little dash of alternative flavor. Adding to the pop confirmation are All- American car songs like “I Wanna Go Faster” and “Gasoline.” Just for this reason the set started to sound a little repetitive. At least for a live performance the drums could have been given a few extra bars between verses if not more room during the bridge sections. “Fred's New Dress” in particular gives a glimpse as to where the band may be able to expand upon their style with a hint of a jazz breakdown.
– Brooke Trout