BEING THERE: This Is The Kit @ Johnny Brenda’s



From the floor of Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday night, Kate Stables watched every second of the opening set from Landlady’s Adam Schatz, before taking the stage with an ensemble that included Schatz on keys and brass. This is the current iteration of Stables’ project, This Is The Kit, which still sounds bright and new, even at fifteen years and four full-length albums deep. Standing confidently with her green Hofner hollow-body, Stables presents distinctive Bristol-based folk-rock with a unique paradox. Her music often evokes that of Joni Mitchell or Nick Drake, or very early 70s era-defining harmonies of the Ron Hicklin Singers, even as she updates it all at the same time with a dimension of timelessness that manages to transcend music-criticism carbon dating.Stables seems most comfortable juxtaposing those contexts, as fans applaud with Beat-era fingersnaps between songs as if we were at a Ginsberg reading at City Lights Bookstore in 1959. She delivers her characteristically clean vocals and warbles lyrics about moons and spirits that are always vibrant and never trip into pitfalls of schmaltz or cliché, as the band derives power from the conflict between restrained instrumental arrangements and Stables’ free-spirited verse. “I want to thank you all for coming,” gushes the singer toward the end of her set, in acknowledgement of what she called their best-attended tour yet, and with the most British of conceits: “It’s been highly enjoyable.” — JOSH PELTA-HELLER