On December 5th, This is the Kit, the project of Kate Stables, played at The Anthem in DC. The British musician was the opening act for the first North American leg of The National's Sleep Well Beast tour.
Stables' performance was a triumphant rendition of folk rock. Her smooth, lilting voice expertly makes her quick cadence and ornamentation seem easy. Accompanying herself on both banjo and guitar, Stables carefully spins narratives into captivating tapestries of sound.
She is part of what I'd like to consider a renaissance of modern folk music. Along with contemporaries Nadia Reid, Julie Byrne, and Aldous Harding, Stables is bringing "traditional folk" music back into the indie conversation.
The set consisted mainly of songs from their most recent release, 2017's Moonshine Freeze (Rough Trade). It's almost unbelievable how impeccable they are. With brass instrumentalists and harmonies to mirror the recordings, there is a stirring and transporting magic to This is the Kit's live performance.
The National's Aaron Dessner joined the band on guitar for "Solid Grease," and my personal favorite, "Hotter Colder". It wouldn't be the first time he's collaborated with the band, having worked with them on their 2013 LP, Bashed Out (Brassland Records).
Following their set, I heard strangers behind me discussing the band's performance. "Wow- they were incredible!"
This is the Kit is back across the pond for some early 2018 tour dates, but will be in the US mid-way through the year. They play in Philly, Brooklyn and DC- with their Washington show set for 5/27 @ DC9.