This Is The Kit

This Is The Kit

Comparisons are odious but given that I went to two gigs in two days I think I can be forgiven for drawing them. On Wednesday night it was Self Esteem at Gorilla and on Thursday it was This is the Kit at RNCM. Both intelligent female-led music, but that’s where the comparisons end.

RNCM is a suitably studious setting for This is the Kit and support act, The Magic Lantern. I arrive just in time to catch the end of The Magic Lantern who are clearly captivating the audience, they use silence and pauses to up the drama of their music and you can tell that each beat of the drum and pick (never strum) of the guitar has been meticulously planned.

After a break, on come This is the Kit and I am cheered to see two men and two women making up their composition. The lead singer, Kate Stables is rocking an Amnesty International t-shirt and bassist Rozi Plain, looks like she has been for a spot of gardening. Their look may be kind of shabby but their music is anything but.

The music is thoughtfully put together and their appearances don’t require much attention. It’s how they make you feel which is most important. The beginning of their set leaves the hairs on my arms standing up and they are clearly a talented collection of musicians who seem to have garnered support from a collection of intelligent, thoughtful and respectful fans.

Stables’ voice soars and Rozi Plain reliably deputises on vocals providing beautiful harmonies between them on stage. Their on-stage chat shows a similar rapport: Stables tells the audience that her bassist went swimming at the neighbouring Aquatics Centre in the afternoon, before launching into the beautiful ‘Bulletproof’ showcasing Stables impressive aptitude for finger picking the banjo and faultless singing voice.

My only criticism would be that the rhythm guitarist, Neil Smith, stays firmly out of the limelight displaying impressive guitar skills but seems totally focused on proving his prowess on guitar rather than engaging with other members of the band on stage. Yes, he is solid as a rock for the band and probably reassuring for them, but not too entertaining for us, the audience.

Towards the end of the gig, they ask for requests from the audience and I am cheered by the much- needed change of gear and have to repress the urge to request ‘Club Tropicana’ (I don’t particularly like the song I just wanted a shot of silly in the arm to counteract the earnestness) but the audience just shout out other This Is the Kit album tracks which I am not too au fait with and as a glory seeking fan find a little disappointing.

I had never been shushed at a gig before this week. Surprisingly, it wasn’t at This the Kit it happened but the night before, when Self Esteem’s Rebecca Taylor ‘unplugged’ and sang with an acoustic guitar. The audience at RNCM upheld a reverential silence to enjoy the music. There was no need for anyone to be ‘shushed’. Perhaps a bit of misbehaviour was needed to add a cheap thrill to proceedings, but why do that when This Is the Kit are so golden?

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When people ask me what music I am in to, I find it very hard to give a definitive answer because, throughout my life I have been in to all kinds of music from House to Heavy Metal. So I can safely say I am open to most things however, I would say that overall my allegiances lie with Electronic music because it covers so many genres and is constantly developing and changing. Having grown up in Manchester my musical tastes have been influenced by nights such as Electric Chair and Mr Scruff which encompasses the sounds of House, Detroit Techno, Disco, Soul, Funk and Hip Hop. As far as bands are concerned, I particularly like bands that are melodic and have a hook and a heart such as Wild Beasts. While living in London in the early noughties, I was also listening to music that didn’t really have a heart, more of a pacemaker. I was listening to Electroclash at nights such as Erol Alkan’s, Trash. I love writing about music and believe you can be honest about why you don’t like something without being disrespectful, a skill I am still learning in real life! But ultimately I understand that music needs to be experienced first, rather than intellectualised but why do one, when you can do both?