Friday, December 02, 2016

This Is The Kit at Union Chapel

Union Chapel, Islington, London
1st November 2016

This beautifully curated, celebratory evening marked the end of one-and-a-half years of touring to support TITK's acclaimed Bashed Out album. I'd been bought a ticket and had no idea what to expect — my first time inside the beautiful Union Chapel too. Not surprisingly, the gig was sold out.

The Fantasy Orchestra, directed by Kate's husband Jesse (while simultaneously playing some killer lead guitar), started things off: loads of them, as usual, playing an eclectic diversity of instruments in silly costumes, carnival masks, etc. Apparently quite a few of them had cycled from Bristol to London after a similar gig there a few days earlier. There was the usual dose of Morricone, but also a load of other stuff I'd not seen them do before including (something of a surprise) Jeffrey Lewis' "If You Shoot The Head You Kill The Ghoul". Rozi Plein, the bassist from TITK, came on to do her song "Best Team" backed by the FO. The sound was remarkably balanced throughout considering the number of people on stage.

Another Bristol friend of the band, Rachel Dadd, then played a set with Rozi and Kate backing her on vocals, plus a large part of the Fantasy Orchestra reappearing on stage for the last couple of songs ("Strike Our Scythes" and "Balloon").

TITK is an ever-changing entity with Kate Stables at its centre. I'd thought I'd see the quartet lineup I'd seen in Ramsgate a few months ago (her, Rozi, Neil Smith on lead guitar and Jamie on drums). Instead, it was that lineup augmented by Jesse on electric guitar, plus our dear friend Lorenzo Prati (Rae, Evil Usses, Count Bobo, Tezeta, Dubi Dolczek) and Melanie Wickham (I think) on saxophones. Such a beautiful ensemble sound! They didn't play most of my favourites, but I only realised that afterwards, so enraptured was I by the whole thing. The Fantasy Orchestra joined in for a few triumphant numbers towards the end of the set, and the evening ended with a gorgeous, sparse "Bashed Out" encore before I had to run for my train back to Canterbury.

There was a remarkably warm, inclusive atmosphere about the whole thing. The babysitters backstage even got a shout-out and round of applause, I'm happy to report. A very tasteful lightshow too:


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