Live Review: This is the Kit @ Islington Union Chapel, Sat 9 May 2009

You know it’s almost summer when… it’s still light outside and the first support band are ready to take to the stage. And so it is when Jesse and Kate softly tread onto the stage this evening.

Tonight, playing as an acoustic duo and blessed with Kate’s aqua pure voice and Jesse’s delicate abilities across a variety of instrumentals (guitar, piano, violin, banjo, percussion, baritone), This is the Kit wow the early birds at ElectroAcoustic’s fifth birthday bash.

They begin with ‘One of these Days’, full of yearning lyrics about eventually making it into a lover’s bed, and follow that by dedicating ‘Waterproof’, appropriately enough, to the chapel’s crumbling clock tower.

On new single ‘Birchwood Beaker’ (also covered later this evening by French-speaking Belgians Soy un Caballo), Kate sounds uncannily similar to a young, confident Vashti Bunyan. The pastoral, observational lyrics – “Made it past the trees / three migrating geese / to the North Sea” – only add to the effect.

Perhaps feeling inspired by their religious surroundings, the pair perform short a cappella ‘Sacred Harp’, which truly soars into the church steeple – hopefully not dislodging any more of the plasterwork on the way. Closing song ‘Two Wooden Spoons’ features the best whistling-as-an-instrument-in-its-own-right since ‘5 Years Time’ and is almost as jaunty. By their set end it’s finally dark outside but, inside, This is the Kit have left a warm glow. 

Words: Joe Downie