Other gigs...Kin

Kindred Spirit

Kings Arms, Salford 28th November 2009

Support : Borland (DJ Set) and Charlie Barnes
I had been mesmerised the previous Saturday as I sat recording Kin in acoustic session for Salford City Radio's Reformation Show. During our interview Kin had promised an exciting show to launch her new EP which would act as a catharsis for a nearly 12 month wait for release after recording. She was not wrong.
As we sat in eager anticipation in the bar we drank strangely flavoured beer, met old chums and pondered on the night ahead.  In the upstairs room at the Kings Arms Ian and Rob of Borland were spinning a heady melange of tunes, needed to warm up a very chilly room. High fives were exchanged and talk of sessions and forthcoming gigs ensued.
The evenings entertain kicked in - the lack of a bar in the upper room my only complaint.
First up was Charlie Barnes, crouched "Hammill" like over a complex array of keyboards, samplers, foot pedals, wires and computer.  In a self effacing and memorable performance Charlie conjured multiple layers of sound from live samples, loops and echoes. Simply put this a new form of music - at once progressive but also ambient, choral and epic.  At one point he created a veritable choir from the capture of his own voice. I chatted to him afterwards and hopefully we will have a session on the show soon. I do wonder what he would sound like with a full band behind him, but that's not say he doesn't actually conjure up a whole band from his gear.
A short wait and more chat and then Kin assemble. Jonn Dean on keyboards at stage left, Howard Jones nestled behind a compact drum kit and the ever smiling Ding on Bass. Kin, resplendent in new "four button" pants, taking centre stage. What followed went beyond cathartic, a clear visceral kick, but also a mental jolt, seizing the appreciative crowd by its collective psyche and taking it through a whirlwind of music.
Being familiar with the material from the EP and having the acoustic set in the studio had not prepared me for the nerve tingling exposition. Howard Jones is an excellent drummer, his masterful and almost relaxed control of his instrument allows the other band members to expand into areas of light and shade which are breathtaking. Ding is a power-house, his bass shuddering up through the floor, both a rhythmic bedrock but also at times an effective colour for the sound palette. Dean, almost impassive as the others move in time to the music, provides patinas of aural delight.
And Kin?
Well, the charming lady with a quiet demeanour in the studio the week before is a woman transformed. Catharsis and beyond is delivered as that marvellously unique voice brings a new dimension to the music. Her guitar work is a sensational mass of chords, and arpeggiating notes, delivering a crisp and clean sound. She looks upwards as she sings, her expression joyous as the band delivers behind her. The live version of "Chemistry Set" becomes a powerful beast of a thing, "Hibiscus" is magnificent, and  "How to Speak" is the best bit of progressive music you are likely to hear this year. New material with brain boggling timing is delivered with some aplomb, and the blues of "Little Mind" is a stunning piece of controlled tension.
And it's over all too quickly, the hour flies by.
I left feeling satisfied that I had seen something very special indeed.
Sensational. Kin Sensational!!
 photographs courtesy of Mr Jon Coupe of SalfordMusic.Com