Live review: Kettle of Kites EP launch at Stereo 15/5/11

I hadn’t heard anything by Kettle of Kites before tonight but I had a fair idea of what to expect, their acquaintances mostly relate to that folk pop sound so familiar in Glasgow these days and bassist Brodie Jarvie’s description alluded no further, for any Brodie fans, I know you’re out there, this isn’t jazz.

It’s touch and go for turnout tonight but there’s a healthy crowd to greet the delightful Jo Mango. The curly haired songstress, in support slot this evening, treats us to gentle beautiful songs complimented by her sweet endearing vocal tones. ‘Every Certainty’ is a charming number where Jo’s band really starts to show, with dual vocals and gentle bass further complimenting what is already good about her music.

The last time I saw Jo play was in support of Anna Meldrum at Brel a long time ago, before Kitty the Lion, back then Jo was the chattiest singer I’d ever came across, tonight she has toned it down a little giving the music the front seat, but still she finds room for banter including an amusing factual update on giant squid.

She invites her “choir of starlings” on stage who stand for a extended period of time before contributing, but when they do the effect is beautifully haunting giving a new tone of misery to an already sad track and adding a touch more to the set as a whole.

A big cheer erupts as Kettle of Kites take the stage and frontman Tom Stearn retorts “we haven’t played anything yet, we might be shite”. They’re not though, their folk pop with sunny overtones could easily sit with the best Glasgow bands in this genre, and the introduction of brass only pushes them a touch more to the pop end of the scale, which can only be positive for the band in general.

The crowd seems pleased and why shouldn’t they be? The shoe certainly fits for moment in the for the Glasgow scene, yes there are several Glasgow bands who share similarities but these guys have as much a right as any to reach the top of this scene. Clear, well-delivered vocals on top bleak folk backdrops or charming pop, it’s hard to find fault.

A few musical quirks bring taking points to the set, the rare foray into noisier surroundings add a quite refreshing element from the norm and hints of Paul Simon inspiration prove these guys aren’t short on ideas. However, it is the standard folk pop songs that stand out in terms of quality.

The trouble is there is plenty of this in Glasgow, while these guys are easily as good as the rest, they don’t quite differ enough and getting heard in a quite saturated market isn’t easy. Still, they close on a Feist cover, giving an authentic pop fuel to the end of a delightful set, leaving everyone happy, whether this was their first time seeing them or not I’m sure these people will be back, but I’m sure the question on most of their lips is who is that sexy bassist?


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