I had heard about Catbite through a friend that sent me a hype video for the Philadelphia Eagles that features Brittany, the band’s lead vocalist and keyboard player. From there, I began to familiarize myself
I had heard about Catbite through a friend that sent me a hype video for the Philadelphia Eagles that features Brittany, the band’s lead vocalist and keyboard player. From there, I began to familiarize myself with their music from various YouTube videos. Originally I was supposed to go to Punk in Drublic in Pittsburgh, but we know what happened there. The one bright spot of Mike canceling was that I was able to go check out Steel City Ska Fest instead, which I was bummed about missing initially. This meant that I got to check out Catbite live for the first time and I got to hang out and kick it with them for a few minutes after their set.
The band consists of four members: Brittany on lead vocals and keys, Tim also on vocals and guitar, Chris on the drums, and Ben on bass. The crew hail from Philly, but only Chris is a native. Brittany is originally from Fort Lauderdale and Tim and Ben are high school friends from Lancaster, PA and used to play in a band called the Snails together. They formed in a round about way as many bands do. Sammy K, a New Jersey artist, was working on a solo project and needed a full band on his tour. This is how Tim and Ben started playing music with Chris.
They toured as a band for three months and decided at the end that they wanted to continue working together. Unfortunately at this time, Chris was already involved in 5-7 bands and wasn’t able to join them. Meanwhile, Tim and Brittany were busy recording cover songs that they turned ska and started sending out demos. They booked a recording time, even though they still didn’t have a drummer.
Again, they approached Chris and asked if he could play drums on their recording session that was happening in three days… He agreed and they went into the studio without rehearsing. They figured their sound out along the way and it obviously worked in their favor! In true punk fashion, they also booked a show in two months in advance and convinced Chris to continue on with them. They were off and running from there!!
I was lucky enough to catch their Pittsburgh debut at Steel City Ska Fest and I had a blast during their set. I wasn’t nearly as familiar with the band last month as I am now, but I have to say that their stage presence is killer. You can tell that they are friends and that they definitely have fun while performing.
I finally met the punk goddess, Caroline, and her little monster that night. Whether I have my kiddos with me or not, I always ended hanging out with all of the kids at shows. Probably because I act like a child and have the same amount of energy. This little guy and I played tag and thumb wrestled, while I danced around and dodged him through the crowd. I am happy to say that Catbite matched our energy while on the stage.
I loved watching Brittany bounce around in combat boots while pounding on her keyboard and her voice rang out clear and concise. A credit to the venue since all of the bands sounded great, but it also had a lot to do with her delivery. Her voice is a blend of her background in jazz voice along with the soul and R&B that influences her contribution to the music.
Tim started out listening to punk rock when he was a teenager and, like many of us at that age, was turned onto ska by the Hellcat’s “Give ‘Em the Boot” compilation. From there, bands, like The Slackers and The Aggrolites, started making on appearance in his musical influence. By the way he dances on stage, skanking has always been in his soul. It’s just has some rockabilly swagger woven into it.
Watching Chris hammer on the drums was mesmerizing. This dude is a mixture of concentration and flow. He mixes his background in jazz with his love of music, like Diane Dane and Cap’n Geech & the Shrimp Shack Shooters. I can almost see him on the set of “That Thing You Do.” He tightens up with the music calls for it and lets his arms get jiggy with the song to keep the pace with Ben on bass.
Ben has perfected the power stance on stage. I don’t know if this can be contributed to growing up listening to Alabama or not. You can decide that one after watching the videos. Just because he doesn’t bounce around on stage as much as his mates, doesn’t mean he fades away. His foot stamping and head banging will have you joining right in!
Overall the entire night was killer. All of the bands were incredible, but Catbite stole my heart (along with a certain little punk boy.) To keep up with their flavor of Philly ska, follow them on Facebook and IG.