Playing Philadelphia for the second time ever on Thursday, the U.K.’s This Is the Kit filled Johnny Brenda’s with a whirlwind of emotion. Led by Kate Stables, the group mesmerized the crowd for over an hour, playing in support of their 2017 release, Moonshine Freeze. Here are some photos and four things we loved about the show.
1. Kate Stables’ unique sound
Hailing from Bristol, England, Stables has a rich vocal range that mixes perfectly with her banjo and guitar. As comfortable as a wool sweater in the winter, her sound is a warm familiarity. On songs like the brilliant “Bullet Proof,” each banjo-soaked syllable sticks to the soul. And, when needed, an array of bells tied around her right ankle added to the aural canvas.
2. Rozi Plain and Jamie Whitby Coles’ contributions
Stables’ supporting band were positioned just right on stage, with Jamie Whitby Coles, on drums, in the middle, and Rozi Plain, on bass, on stage right. The two added harmonies and gentle claps when needed, adding essential elements to the live sound.
3. Stunning stage presence
Stables could easily shift from the stark, intense realms of her songs to engaging in audience banter. One standout moment was when she said she’d never been to a city whose drivers honked their horns as much as they do in Philadelphia. And on this second-to-last show of their U.S. tour, they were willing to take on a two-song encore. When someone wanted to hear “Moonshine Freeze”—which had actually been played earlier but was missed by the fan—Stables obliged with a second take. Certainly one of the strongest songs of the night, this, paired with the brilliant show closer “Bashed Out,” made for a singularly memorable evening of music.
4. A tight set of folk rock by Flat Mary Road
Philadelphia-based quintet Flat Road Mary played their distinctive blend of indie folk to a backdrop of celluloid projections. With violin weaving itself into guitar and percussion, Flat Mary Road, playing behind their 2017 LP Driving with the Numen, were a wonderful opening complement to This Is the Kit.