Killola Live @ The Knitting Factory
5.10.08 - Hollywood, CA
by Joe cortez
photos by M'Lou Elkins
"I make a terrible girl."
You'd be hard pressed to find a more ideal front woman for an indie rock band than Lisa Rieffel of Killola. Here is a singer that understands the power she wields on stage but also knows how to subvert her own punky image by coming out dressed as the belle of the ball just as she did at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood last Saturday evening. Writhing on the floor and stalking the stage in a frilly teal dress, she came off like a prom queen that decided to ditch her date and run away with the house band. It's hard not to focus on her while she's darting across the stage like a pixie on speed but make no mistake, Killola is a group. One with a killer set list and a twisted sense of fun.
Although vocalist Rieffel is the star of the show, that's not to take away from the music. Far from it, her performance brings the tracks to life like a shaman at a seance. There's little point trying to describe what they sound like since I myself was only made a believer after seeing them live. Suffice it to say, their songs are like bubble-gum power pop that cuts your cheek while chewing, insanely catchy with just enough of a perverse edge to make you wonder just what they'll do or say next. There was even a moment early on during the show when Rieffel called out to her mother, who was in attendance for this pre-Mother's Day concert, to help out on a cover of the Ween track "Dr. Rock," retitled "Dr. Twat" for the evening. It was a moment that was kind of sweet in its own way without being too sugary for its own good.
The Knitting Factory show was announced as a sort of release party for their new album, I Am The Messer. Although their set ran the gamut of old and new, the standout track for me was "You Can't See Me Because I'm a Stalker." It's a standout not necessarily because it's any better than the other songs in Killola's repertoire but because it's a decided change of pace from the rest of their raucous fare. It's a slower number, sung in a kind of Patsy Cline-esque vocal by the surprisingly versatile Rieffel detailing an unrequited love that's gone unnoticed for far too long. Think The Police's "Every Breath You Take" from the female perspective, only more cutting than haunting.
If you've been to and seen as many concert as I, you'll know how rare and rewarding an experience it is to truly be surprised by something you were completely unprepared for. The last time I experienced such an event was when I saw Northern State, the night's headliner, open for Tegan & Sara last year at The Orpheum. In a kind of cosmic kismet the girls of Northern State returned the favor allowing Killola to set the stage with a performance that left me battered, bruised and and loving every minute of it.
For more on Killola, visit MySpace.com/Killola.
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