Photography by Elizabeth Abts.

There was something revolutionary and charged about Kalen & the Sky Thieves’ recent show at the Mercury Lounge. Something scene-changing was in our midst. You heard it here first: Kalen & The Sky Thieves are going to storm the New York City music scene and captivate a legion of followers.

When you walk into the Mercury Lounge, brick walls that give off a certain odor surround you, bringing to mind a German Beer hall. The opening act, New York City’s own Rebel Ship, brought an audience starring a breath-taking, Double D-rocking punk girl who danced like she had something to prove and an overly enthusiastic nerdy-type of guy standing front and center. . Behind those two, all their fans seem to have a Doc Emmett Brown kind of feeling about them as they bobbed around the dance floor. All in all, it created a sort of Sixteen Candles prom atmosphere that felt cool. Very Cool.

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Rebel Ship’s set was a veritable cornucopia of unique flavors. As their set progressed, each song was sumptuous, but totally different from the last. The front man had an energized stage presence that reminded you of Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s crooning sway. The band is thoroughly entertaining, unless you’re not a fan of constant repetitive melodies – then they’re not the act for you. In which case I recommend you stay home and listen to your Bon Jovi tapes. My personal favorite was the encore; it sounded like a heart pounding fusion of The Spin Doctors and Tool, if you can imagine such a peculiar union.

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When the headliners, Kalen & The Sky Thieves, took the stage, my first thought was that Kalen Lister looks like a Tsarist Princess member of 4 Non Blondes. Her voice is sure to make your heart race, though. She somehow manages to channel an energy that’s reminiscent of divas such Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, and Poe and Karen O. Kalen is a New England girl, but reveals influences from her years spent in the musical trenches of Philadelphia. Being vets from that battleground ourselves, we can tell you she’s procured a sound and image that’s entirely her own. She brings something fresh to the New York City. This music reminds us that rock & roll has soul.

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The entire act was in your face. Jay Giacomazzo supported Kalen on bass. His fingers danced along the fret board reminding us of the likes of Flea. Wayan Zoey was on drums that built up the energy and gave us sweet release while creating a rhythm that inspired even the shyest to be erect on the dance floor. Guitarist Will Hanza’s riffs that were reminiscent of Genesis. The band’s surprise cover of Phish’s, “Theme From the Bottom,” had the crowd singing along full bore. There were also hints of U2 floating around, throughout their set (minus Bono + Kalen = AMEN). The vocal harmonics between the lot makes Arcade Fire sound like the Test Crash Dummies. Being gambling folk ourselves, this is a horse to put a paycheck on.

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We strongly advise you to score tickets to Kalen & The Sky Thieves at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore on October 2 when they take the stage at the RAW Artists Axis Party. Don’t wait to jump on this bandwagon, kids—they’re going places. Their first studio album will be released October 9th.


Check out Kalen & The Sky Thieves, music and tour information here

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  • Philly Meg

    Sign me up! When are they playing Philadelphia?

    • BigDLA

      Check the website for tour information,

    • Kalen

      Thanks! 2 upcoming Philly shows: solo at World Cafe Live Sunday April 12 and then the full band at Hard Rock Cafe Philly on May 6th

  • Jess

    “Heart pounding fusion of The Spin Doctors and Tool”…. Interesting. David you crack me up! I love these show reviews.

    • BigDLA

      A friend told me today that fusion sounds like a constipated orgasm. I guess some people are into that. Can’t be a bad thing?

  • Pure Juice Grace

    I am pumped to check them out RAW!