Metal may not be produced in Orange County with the same vim and vigor as, well, anything else, but be not mistaken: metalheads lurk everywhere. It's a teenage disease—much like hickeys and tantrums—and it speaks to the raging pile of teen-emotion that's typically manifested in slammed doors and volumes turned up to 11. Which kind of makes it all the more darling that a remarkably out-of-place metal band, Kittie, will soon be regaling boozy Galaxy-goers with heavy, bottomless nu-metal. You know what they say: nothing kills a beer buzz quicker than a little GRRAAAAARRRRRRR dundundundunDUNNNN.
Hailing from London, Ontario, Canada—a midsize city noted for its conservatism and for having the most millionaires per capita in Canada—sisters Mercedes and Morgan Lander first formed Kittie with a friend, Fallon Bowman, when still in their teens. Since then, at least four other women have passed through the Kittie ranks, each inching the band further into metal—deeper vocals, more adept musicianship, more distinctive albums. To date, the band has sold several hundred thousand records to fans in the U.S. (and a comparative handful in Canada), been remixed by KMFDM, played Ozzfest and appeared in Sam Dunn's documentary on the expansive metal subculture, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey.
But while singer/guitarist Morgan and drummer Mercedes might appear to be rough birds, offstage the girls could still be mistaken for clubwear shopgirls. Sure, they've logged nearly 10 solid years (!) in the metal business—an enviable achievement for anyone sane—but they're still managed by their parents and have a clothing line, for which they model. S'cute, right? And so it has to be said: Kittie's all-chick take on "nu-metal" isn't ferocious, but it needs to be. Because the girls are, by the fact of their existence and success, taking up that heavy gender gantlet—a reference that would be even awesomer if Kittie were of the Norwegian school of metal, a folklore- and fantasy-obsessed subgenre—and metal, teenage illness and all, wins or loses on fervor, musical chops and pushing those teen-emotion buttons. And then turning them up to 11.
Kittie with The Warriors, Calico System and Darksun at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.galaxytheatre.com. Thurs., April 20, 8 p.m. $17.50. All ages.