by Pat Moran
Fronted by precocious 17-year-old Chloe Chaidez, Kitten is aptly named. The band's electro-punk attack is more New Wave than riot grrl, and Chaidez's impressive vocals trend more toward a breathy purr than the lioness roar of Karen O, though both extremes are well within her range. Chaidez and her band-mates have an impossibly trendy image, but they back up it up with atmospheric, '80s-infused, candy-coated pop that hews closer to the angst and urgency of Blondie than the chirpy robo-dance of Missing Persons. Kitten knows its '80s influences backwards and forwards, but the band builds on them, dipping into the fractured funk of Public Image LTD, the jagged electronics on Crystal Castles and the soaring melodies of M83. Scrapping promising careers in acting and gymnastics to follow her muse, Chaidez seems to have benefited from a musical Head Start program - her father drummed for '80s East L.A. hardcore punk band Thee Undertakers - but she doesn't come off as an irritating over-achiever. Live, Chaidez thrashes, writhes and whirls with the wildest of the dervishes. She's a striking, charismatic force of nature, and it's a good bet she and Kitten will upstage headliners Paramore. Sold out. May 20, 8 p.m. The Fillmore, 1000 N.C. Music Factory Blvd. 704-916-8970.