Drizzly Monday nights might not set the perfect backdrop for gig going but the line-up from Birmingham Promoters at The Hare and Hounds managed to encourage this gal and a fair few others to leave the house and brave the weather conditions.
Our courage and curiosity were rewarded with sets from two five-piece bands both of whom managed to grab the crowd’s attention with their volume and energy.
First up is Che who, after a short break to find and initiate new guitarist Tom, are back performing both old and new material. It’s impossible not to be immediately absorbed by front woman Lydia’s voice: powerful, captivating and unfaltering. However, after the first number you realise there is more to this band than a huge voice. ‘Keeping Quiet’ kicks in and Lydia manages to mix both soft, subtle tones and powerful sustained tones.
Che’s charm and skill is being able to stay in perfect sync whilst building their alternative rock songs into a managed frenzy. Second guitarist Howard also provides ample backing vocals. It is all polished off with ‘Haven’t You Heard’ where Lydia introduces a synth taking the band in a slightly new direction. However, this detracts nothing from the flawless timing and as always pitch perfect, stunning voice. Synthed, synced and sharp, ‘Keeping quiet should be easy’ as their song goes, but you wouldn’t want Che anything but loud and in your face.
And so to Kill It Kid. Baby-faced just doesn’t quite conjure up how young this band look, especially vocalist Chris Turpin. Yet, fresh from SXSW and on the back of many favourable critiques of their 2009 eponymous debut album their age, or the possibility of them not getting served at the bar, soon slips into insignificance. They open and we’re immediately transported to a world where hand clapping and toe-tapping are the norm. Although it is obvious this is no run of the mill indie rock band, well there’s a violin for a start, don’t assume either that this is the next British nu-folk delicate but beautiful big thing. Second song and new single ‘Ivy and Oak’ is a heady mix of rock and blues.
Again, we’re drawn initially to Chris’s voice and struggle to find the right analogy. There have been comparisons to Antony Hegarty because of its distinctive rich quality. The lead vocals are shared with pianist Stephanie who adds her own smoky and sassy sound. The songs are incredibly well crafted managing to successfully incorporate piano and violin into a rock set up. Clearly, they have a very unique sound heavily influenced by their love of American blues sharing their name a with a track by 1930s’ blues legend Blind Willie McTell .
Slowly the crowd give in to the intoxicating sound and relax into the evening. Pockets of dancing break out and the band interact with some louder audience members. Kill It Kid are even persuaded to do an encore, ‘Bye Bye Bird’. These guys are destined for bigger things and probably soon so be quick if you want to see them in a small venue.
After a trip down to Camden’s Dublin Castle, Che will be back in Brum performing on Friday 16th April at Oxjam’s Sisters night.