RSVP HERE: Catty Play Alphaville + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

Catty is a Brooklyn band lottery success story. After their names were drawn out of a hat, they quickly churned out a couple songs to play at a show that night with Ana Becker on vocals and guitar, Manny Nomikos on bass and vocals, Bryan Thornton on guitar, and Don Lavis on drums. Rosie Slater (also of New Myths and Delicate Steve) took over drummer duties after Don moved to Minneapolis. They’ve released a collection of demos in July called Scratch, recorded at Cavebird Gallery and their small practice space. Catty plays Alphaville on January 31st alongside Gorgeous, Drummers Can Achieve, and Feral Scouts (it’s Benji’s birthday bash; he’ll be playing with Feral Scouts and Drummers Can Achieve). We talked with all the members of Catty about how they’re actually bird people, what Prince song they would cover, and they even wrote us a couple poems.

AF: You met at a band lottery. How was that first time playing together and what made you want to continue to play together?

Ana Becker: The first time we played, we were grouped together completely randomly; our names were quite literally pulled out of a hat. We didn’t even really know each other very well, though we knew of each other and the bands we each played in. There was immediate chemistry, both personally and musically. We wrote a couple of songs and learned a cover and played it all six hours later, along with the rest of the groups of the hat-pulled. It was really remarkable how much fun we had, how well we got along and how happy we were with songs we wrote absurdly quickly. After the show I felt like I’d just had a super-promising first date – I was really nervous and excited. Was it all in my head? Did they feel the chemistry too? Or was it just me? Could it be the beginning of something very special?

Since then, our original drummer Don Lavis moved to Minneapolis (we miss you, Don!) and we’ve been super lucky to have tricked the inimitable Rosie Slater into joining us! We lured her with promises of Beatles jams.

Manny Nomikos: Everyone was so generous with their creativity. At first I was really intimidated by each of their individual talent, but the support everyone was showing made it less scary to play music with them. Almost immediately, I felt like I wanted to be with these people all the time.

AF: At your first official show as a band you had everyone vote on band names – what were the other band  names that were almost chosen?

AB: I still have the poster board in my room! I’ll have to check it. We wrote down a bunch of options, and gave people post-it notes to write their favorites on. At the end post-its were everywhere so it was pretty hard to count votes, but we did our best. Wrong Legs was one option (I hate snakes, my sister Laura hates spiders, both of them have the wrong number of legs). Our moniker from the band lotto was another choice (“Hayyy Saylor” – not the worst, but probably too whimsical for the vibe of the music). People kept writing THEIR first names on the post-its instead of their favorite band name option… I still find green post-its with random names on them from time to time.

MN: I was just really hoping we didn’t end up being Wrong Legs. I liked Hayyy Saylor, but that would require us write only nautical themed tunes and we only had enough material for two nautical albums.

Bryan Thornton: I really championed the Charlie Manson Band, but quickly found out I bet on the wrong horse. Like bad jeans, the name did not fit.

AF: What is everyone’s favorite kind of cat and/or funny experience with a cat? Since you’re actually bird people, what are your favorite types of birds?

AB: My favorite cat on planet earth is Bruce Squiggleman Kittowitz, whom I recently had to move away from and miss very much. My favorite type of bird is Manny.

MN: I like cats when they get too old to murder. Then they just hang out and it’s alright. I can talk all day about birds, but I’d have to go with Quaker parrots. My first bird (Sproose) was a Quaker and loved music and singing along to songs I played… now I have a nanday conure and she is affectionate but also very complicated.

BT: I’ve grown up with cats always around via both parents – so I’ve always thought that cats are superior to dogs. Dogs are too subservient cause they look at you like some big alien deity that manifests food and shelter, but cats think you’re just another cat (a giant, weird, mostly hairless cat, but a cat nonetheless) so they really don’t mind you much. I like any kind of cat that doesn’t care about my existence so I can try to win their favor and make them think I’m cool.

Rosie Slater: I was raised by cats.

AF: What Prince song would Catty cover?

AB: “When Doves Cry.”

MN: “I Would Die 4 U.” Or “Batdance.”

RS: “When You Were Mine.”

BT: “Kiss” might be cool.

AF: What is the best crowd surfing technique?

MN: Make sure it’s at a rock show, and not a children’s party, unless you want to be uninvited from all future kid parties.

AF: Write me a poem.

AB: You’re the kind of gal I’d cross the street to say hello to
Even if it meant I had to run
We got back from the west coast, and I rented out your bedroom
I didn’t sleep there once

BT: I don’t like massages
And I’ve never been to a sauna
But I once saw your band
Cover Nirvana

AF: What are your plans for 2020? Anything else you’d like to say?

AB: Catty’s organizing our SXSW run at the moment, and we’re cooking up a couple of singles to release soon! We worked on two songs so far with Jeff Berner, which has been a pleasure and a privilege. An LP looms in Catty’s future. Personally, in 2020 I plan to spend as much quality time as I can with my guitar, and my loved ones. I’m feeling very grateful lately and it’s corny as fuck, please forgive me.

MN: MacGregor’s Bowerbirds are an amazing bird species that can mimic about any sound and you should look them up now.

BT: I’m afraid of being canceled by the dog community – dogs are great, but just not as great as cats.

RSVP HERE for Catty, Feral Scouts, Gorgeous @ Alphaville. 21+ / $10-12

More great shows this week:

1/31 Torres (album releases show), Meg Stalker @ The Sultan Room. 21+ / $16 RSVP HERE

1/31 Miranda and The Beat, Shadow Show @ TV EYE. 21+ / FREE RSVP HERE

2/1 The Paranoyds, Spendtime Palace @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

2/1 Human People, Washer, Thanks For Coming @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

2/3 Tredici Bacci, Material Girls, Sugarlife @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

2/4 Lorelei Ramirez, Morgan Bassichis + More (benefit for Bernie) @ The Bell House. 18+ / $20-$250 RSVP HERE

2/5 QWAM, Motherhood, Bad Bloom @ Mercury Lounge. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

2/5 Space Sluts, Extra Special, Shapes in Calgary @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

PET POLITICS: Kelly Knapp’s Love of Noise (and Cats)

Love Bugs: Kelly and She Ra (all photos courtesy of Kelly Knapp).

When Shakespeare wrote “And though she be but little, she is fierce,” he could have very well been talking about Kelly Knapp if it wasn’t for the centuries that separate them. As the brains and arm grease behind events booking collective Noise Love and the punk singer of Feral Scouts (and formerly TKR TKR), Kelly is a powerhouse performer in both the forefront and behind the scenes. She is also a writer and cat mom. Kelly chatted with me about her history in Brooklyn, her future goals for her projects, her passion for both curating and playing musical events, and the love of her senior kitty, She Ra: Princess of Power.

AF: You have worked as both a booker and an artist in Brooklyn. Did booking bands inspire you to start your own project or did your musical talents drive you into the promotional element of the industry?

KK: I’ve always been drawn to music more than anything else. When I was really little my mom gave me some “golden oldies” cassette tapes and I loved all the doo wop harmonies and would sing along in my room. My first “band” was with my best friend who I grew up with down the street, when we were around 8 years old. Her dad had a really awesome vinyl collection that inspired us, and we both started playing guitar and keyboard. As we grew up we started to be more grunge.

When I got older and was trying to figure out the rest of my life I stopped playing as much, but I was constantly discovering new music and going to local shows. I think after moving to Brooklyn, writing about the shows I was already going to became a sweet little side gig for some freelance money, but also a great way to really get into the scene. I definitely think that the more live music I saw, the more I remembered how I was capable of making my own art, and I really missed singing, out of all the various instruments I had dabbled with over the years. But being in a band can be a super intense relationship, and it’s important to be with other artists who you click well with. After finding a group of people I knew I could work with on a meaningful level I really started to get even more inspired, and much happier!

AF: When did you start Noise Love and what was the first show you booked?

KK: Noise Love was born out of my frustration with writing and booking for other outlets, and how I started to feel too restricted with who I could cover or book on a bill, and what I could publish about a given artist. Noise Love was a way for me to be able to have full creative control and book or write about whoever I wanted, and to promote whoever I honestly believed in. My first booking ever actually ended up being two official CMJ shows, and I think the first legit Noise Love shows were a couple years later for Northside Festival in 2014. If I remember that right, I had Clouder, Suicide Dolls, Dead Waves, and Water at The Flat on Friday the 13th, and my friend Travis made this sick Cthulhu flyer for it. That was a rad show.

Feral Scouts

AF: Please introduce your kitty companion.

KK: My kitty boo is a tuxedo babe named She Ra. Because she’s the princess of power, haha.

AF: When did you adopt her?

KK: I took her in about three years ago, when she was already 8 years old. She’s probably had many crazy experiences I’ll never know about. We didn’t get along at first, but she finally settled in and now we’re very attached. It’s funny because I think of her as my baby, but in cat years she’s more like a grandmother.

AF: Growing up in Florida, did you have many pets?

KK: So many cats! I’ve never not had a cat, or four. I’ve had plenty of fish too. Growing up in Florida, I would always catch tadpoles and watch them grow from a little wormy fish thing to something with legs. I wouldn’t keep them for very long though. Florida has all kinds of weirdo insects, reptiles, and amphibians, that were always just all around my house. I didn’t exactly keep them as pets, but since they were there, and I was always going into the woods, we just had this coexistence. I never liked it when the spiders came inside the house though, or (every once in a while) a garden snake would pop out of a sink drain.

AF: How does being a pet mom in Brooklyn differ from being a pet mom in Florida?

KK: The “wild” is very different here. My cats in Florida were always catching bugs, but I don’t really have that many insect visitors here. Once I woke to find She Ra picking at a headless mouse on the floor next to my bed, and then I found the head in one of my slippers when I got up to put them on. That was very sweet of her. She needs to be entertained, though. I think in Florida there was more for my cats there to do; more room to run around. As a pet mom in Brooklyn I’m more aware that I need to help my cat not be bored so she stays happy.

AF: When did you move to New York, and was it to pursue a career in music or for other reasons?

KK: I moved to NYC in the dead of winter, January 2009. It was after I had done some traveling, and seen more of the world. Going back to Florida, everything just felt so small and limited. Music had a lot to do with my move, and culture in general. New York is like this place that’s geographically small but at the same time feels limitless because it’s just so jam-packed with everything you can imagine, and stuff you would have never imagined before. And when bands tour, they don’t skip over NYC. I remember finding out a band I loved was touring, getting excited, and not seeing any Florida dates. That was always a bummer. If they did, they would skim the top, so I’d have to drive up to Tallahassee to catch them – which I did often. I don’t blame them though. Florida is a long state to drive down into and then back out of, and when you’re a DIY band that’s a lot of time and gas to factor in.

AF: Tell us about your new band.

KK: We’re called Feral Scouts, and we play loud, heavy rock.

photo by Dean Keim

AF:  How many bands have you performed in?

KK: This is my second band in Brooklyn that I’ve really played out in and went beyond just loose jamming or random low key casual stuff. I’m getting to really sing, like dig deep find out what my voice can really do, so it’s really fun for me.

AF: If you could pick any type of animal in the world to be a companion to your cat, what species would it be? 

KK: I took in a bearded dragon once, just for a few weeks, and she seemed to really love it so maybe one of those. She Ra is pretty territorial, and historically she has not been a fan of any other animal I’ve brought in. I would love for her to have a companion she can run around with though – and not behead. I get worried that she’s lonely when I’m not home.

AF: If your kitty was a musician, what instrument would she play?

KK: She’s definitely a main vocalist – she can really howl when she wants to and she likes to interrupt me.

AF: Ever written a song about a (non-human) animal?

KK: The first song I ever wrote was about my old cat Misty, and how she was always smelling everything. It was called “Just A-Sniffin'”

AF: Favorite (non-human) animal song?

KK: Wolf howls.

AF: When can we catch the next Noise Love show?

KK: I’m putting together a cool acoustic show at Two Boots on November 14 to coincide with my friend Julia’s art show there!

AF: What are your future plans with Feral Scouts?

KK: We’re gonna try to focus and finally finish this EP we’ve been working on recording, plus more new songs, but we’ll probably end up booking more stuff too.