Kelly TigerSex is recalling the moment when it clicked, when singing in front of people felt as natural to her as singing in the shower.
It was at a gig in the room where she now sits, venerable dive the Double Down Saloon, where, with her ripped red fishnets and well-worn tank top, she’s practically indivisible from the decor.
“When I laid on the floor and a bunch of girls were putting their butts over my face I was like, ‘This is rock ’n’ roll right here,’ ” she grins over the roar of the jukebox and the loud conversations of post-happy hour revellers nearby.
“Oh yeah, I remember that,” says one of her bandmates, guitarist Kei, who recalls her transformation from tentative, first-time singer to brassy frontwoman with a bullhorn for a larynx. “I was going to just jam with her on acoustic guitar, and then she sounded very loud. I said, ‘Wow.’ ”
The band they started together, Tiger Sex, played their first show in April, but already the quartet (rounded out by drummer Chris Moon and bassist Paul French) have become a much talked about live act, largely because of TigerSex’s in-your-grille presence.
Aside from its singer, the group is composed of scene vets who’ve done time in notable Vegas bands such as The Tinglerz, Jupiter Shifter, M.I.A., Shattered Faith and F.S.P.
Together, they’re like a coiled spring under pressure, all tension aching for release, with TigerSex often sounding as if she was traversing hot coals with bare feet.
“She can sing the blues and carry a melody, but at the same time, is very aggressive,” Kei notes approvingly.
Kei is a flamboyant, flashy guitarist who possesses the aplomb of a Johnny Thunders but is a much more precise player, while the rhythm section possesses the hard swing of a badass ’60s R&B combo.
The group initially began with Kei and TigerSex bonding over the Beatles, but it’s the Stooges who are the band’s most palpable influence, mainly in the way they wed a combative rock ’n’ roll bluster with a cocksure, seductive swagger.
TigerSex, who moved here from Florida a year ago, has an uncle who once traveled with the Ramones and who gave her compilations of obscure punk bands when she was a kid. As such, her influences tend to extend far beyond her years with little taste for contemporary sounds.
“I like a raw, garage-y, in-your-face type of sound,” she says.
The band plans on hitting the studio for the first time later this month and is gigging constantly. (You can catch the band at Beauty Bar on Thursday night and Saturday). For TigerSex, it’s a way to be a part of something that’s always been a part of her.
“Before, I’d just go to a bar and listen to music,” she says. “Now, I’m doing the music.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476.