A review by Griff from @GriffTalksBalls.
I’ve always thought myself to be quite adept at describing the sound of bands to those that have never heard their music.
For bands that have a straightforward sound that seldom changes it’s relatively simple.
Green Day, for example, are a pop punk band, no matter how they may argue that they’re more than that. ACDC are a hard rock band. Easy!
With bands that fuse more than one genre it becomes more difficult.
I remember a band called The Datsuns who I once heard described as ‘like it would sound if The Ramones were playing Led Zeppelin songs’, which, while being obsequious to The Datsuns, would have at least given the uninitiated an idea of what to expect.
And so, from time to time I have also resorted to describing bands by referencing other, more well-known bands.
As such I’ve previously described Clutch as ‘a bit like ZZ Top with Motörhead’s rhythm section’.
I had to pull out all the stops in attempting to describe The Joy Formidable and ended up with, ‘Imagine if The Primitives and The Flaming Lips had babies and raised them in Snowdonia while listening to Jimi Hendrix records..‘
So you can only imagine my frustration at not being able to describe a band that I’ve been fascinated by for the last couple of years.
I’d been handed a CD by an old friend of mine, Foz, who was managing a band. Once on my pod I soon gave it a listen and was delighted that it was really good.
The music was diverse and the band, called The Loose Kites, had a unique sound. I resolved to find out more about them.
The results were initially disappointing.
There is very little to find out about The Loose Kites online since 2016.
As such I thought they’d be confined to the dreaded category containing the likes of Grandaddy, Hope Of The States and The Rumble Strips as bands whose demise came far too early.
In desperation I headed to social media looking for clues. That was in early February. Worryingly there had been very little signs of life since 2016.
It turns out I was in luck! Through the invaluable Schott’s List (the bible of the local Chester music scene run by Dan Schott) Twitter account I found out that The Loose Kites would be performing at Telford’s Warehouse in Chester in March.
This gig not only gave me the chance to check out one of the most intriguing and unique sounding bands of my lifetime but also gave me an outside chance of catching up with Foz, whose number had perished when I lost my phone in a car crash in 2016.
The date of the gig coincided with my 15,000th day celebrations – the biggest age-related celebration I’ve ever had! This had the potential to be brilliant, but how could I describe the band to others to get them to join me at Telford’s?
I decided it would be easiest to leave it for others to hear for themselves.
Those friends that bothered to come with me to celebrate my milestone at the gig quickly became aware of why I’d been unable to describe their sound.
Articles that were returned by my earlier Google search had suggested that they are ‘indie/folk’, which is true, to a certain degree.
However, that doesn’t nearly cover what is offered by The Loose Kites.
Country, ska, jazz, Latin, funk, hard rock, skiffle and blues are all incorporated in their sound, sometimes all at the same time.
It’s almost impossible to describe yet beautiful to witness.
In the run up to the gig they had mentioned that this would be a celebration of their 10th anniversary. They released their first, self-titled, album in 2009 and seemingly hadn’t played a gig since July 2017.
As they started the gig I sense a little apprehension, perhaps understandable given how long it’s been since they last played.
Any such feelings disappeared as soon as they started playing, though.
With a warm stage charisma that immediately draws the audience toward them their set began with Nice To Be Nice.
It was natural to wonder whether their first performance in so long would show any signs of rustiness but the opposite was true and they quickly had the diverse crowd dancing, even during new song You Don’t Know How To Dance.
News of a new song was joyous to me and further good news was confirmed when lead-singer Si confirmed that it will be featured on a new album.
Judging by this performance that’s a record that promises to be a treat!
By the time they got to Latch Key Kid, a song about student days in the immediate vicinity of the glorious venue they were playing, it was evident that the band’s temporary hiatus has done nothing to diminish how tight they are as a band.
The impeccable rhythm section being joined by a trumpet, violin and (mainly) acoustic guitar blending with Si’s voice creates a sound that is truly seductive. The instantly catchy melodies built around the band’s combined harmonies made this the most effortless fun for everyone in the audience, who instantly felt a connection with the stage.
Those familiar with favourites such as The Devil’s In The Detail, Lothario, Spinning Jenny and Andrew from their first two studio albums would have been satisfied.
Those craving new songs would have been delighted to have heard further examples from the new album with Atmospheres and Fisherman’s Song.
By the time they had played Shoot Me as an encore, everyone in attendance was not only satisfied but excited.
It was difficult to tell who had enjoyed the evening most, the band or the audience. The audience were baying for more, not in the way that audiences always do but because they were enjoying the moment so much. I suspect that the band wanted to play all night but, for now, they can be more than happy with their night’s work.
As for me, it was a great performance to finish a great day worthy of the occasion.
The Loose Kites are a ‘feel good’ band that have that quality of being able to make music so easy to listen to because of their melodies and musicianship.
To find a band with such a quality that have such a connection not only with each other but also with their audience is rare.
(You can read the full review here on Griff’s excellent blog ‘Griff Talks Balls’
FOLLOW THE LOOSE KITES
FOLLOW SCHOTT’S LIST
IMAGES FROM BAND FB PAGE
REVIEW REPRODUCED WITH KIND PERMISSION.