Kat called that album “a theatrical rock explosion.”
And she’s taken another step toward the theatrical with her new album, “Misfit Cabaret,” due out Friday.
The name comes from the variety show Kat created about two years ago, after moving from North Carolina to San Francisco.
More specifically, Misfit Cabaret is a “saucy variety show centered around musical theater and rock and roll with a rotating cast that includes burlesque, drag, circus, and vaudeville,” according to the Kickstarter campaign that helped fund the project.
Kat told Voice Views that Jordan Nathan approached her about two years ago about producing a show in San Francisco. Kat writes and arranges each show, selects the performers, creates the costumes, wigs and props and writes original music for the productions.
Which it where the new album comes in. It features Kat originals from each of the first five Misfit Cabaret shows.
But if the approach has changed, the result is the same: Impassioned vocals that demand a listen.
One of the rock highlights, “Bully,” is already available for those who pre-order the album. Kat released a video last month for the boisterous “She Looks Like She Owed Death Money.”
And Kat is at her brilliantly impassioned best on “White Snow, White Dress,” The song comes from Cinephilia, a show about cult films.
“I was very much an outcast growing up in rural North Carolina and was drawn more to the macabre side of life, which was a turn-off on the playground,” Kat says. “No one wanted to play make believe in the way I wanted to, so I played by myself a lot. My imaginary friends were Beetlejuice — he got me in trouble a lot — and Edward Scissorhands.
“Edward is such a sad character and so misunderstood. I identified with him strongly and that movie has been one of my favorites ever since I can remember. Writing (‘White Snow, White Dress’) from his perspective and channeling my own hurt and isolation was cathartic. It’s one of my favorite songs to perform live.
“I love making people laugh through dealing with pain, and so when people chuckle at the line ‘If I’m a little shy / It’s only because I / Don’t know what to do with my hands,’ it makes me feel less alone. Yeah, we don’t have scissors for hands, but can’t we all relate to wanting to touch someone and not being able to? Or wanting someone to touch us and being too afraid to ask? Edward Scissorhands is all of our fear of rejection personified.”
That’s another thing that hasn’t changed about this album. “Kat Robichaud and the Darling Misfits” was very autobiographical. Because Kat writes the Misfit Cabaret shows, she sets the parameters. And she says that means she’s still able to write music that’s personal to her.
For example, she was writing a show called Whimsea with a nautical theme when David Bowie died.
“He’s my idol and I wanted to pay tribute to him, so I wrote a song about him and had it take place on a beach,” Kat says. It’s called, simply enough, “A Song for David Bowie” and it’s on the album.
So far, Kat’s debuted six Misfit Cabaret shows, to rave reviews in San Francisco. More are coming, beginning with “Horror Show,” a Halloween show centered around slasher films.
Great Star Theater is the base of operations in San Fran; “Cinephilia” will be performed there Friday and Saturday. But Kat and her colleagues have also started to take Misfit Cabaret on the road.
“We just came back from our first tour in Seattle and it was a huge success so we’re going to go back soon,” she says.
“And we’re planning on touring to L.A., Vegas, Portland, and Vancouver in the future.
“I would love for this show to become big enough so that we can tour more places, maybe go across seas, and certainly get big enough so that we’re performing several months at a time rather than just a handful of times every couple of months.
“I’m hoping the album will get enough traction so that it helps spread the gospel of Misfit Cabaret. I know that if a show like this had rolled into Concord, N.C., when I was a kid, it would have blown my mind.”
You can follow Kat and Misfit Cabaret through her website.