A humble but enthusiastic crowd made its way to the Columbus Theatre Friday night for New England’s own Bat House and And The Kids.
Bat House is an easygoing psych rock foursome out of Boston who doesn’t fail to crowd a room with their explosive sound. The band shared roles and vibes well, creating a viscous and trippy basement show experience. We had Emmet Hayes on an ambitious fretless bass and expert new wave vocals, Shane Blank on guitar and Lord of the Rings references and Ally Jullen on guitar charming the crowd. Special shout-out to the undeniable hero of the band, drummer/producer Kate Siefker, who is one of the best musicians I’ve seen live and in color. I felt thoroughly hypnotized and debilitated by her drumming ability as Siefker is nothing short of impressive. She is a force of nature–wielding song-filling flourishes and jazzy rhythms with so much energy and ease that she single-handedly breathed life into every song. The setlist of ten, including “City Proper”, “Toucan” and super favorite “Alright, Space Boy”, which is a Magical Mystery Tour b-side (just kidding, but it really could be), clearly made an impression on the come-early crowd as Bat House ended their night to the spirited applause of brand new fans.
I haven’t heard every album released in 2019 but I’ve listened enough to confidently say that Northampton’s And The Kids’ third album, When This Life Is Over, is already one of the best and easily my favorite album on the fate of mortality ever created. On Friday night, And The Kids was Hannah Mohan on guitar, vocals, and tiny flute while Rebecca Lasaponaro absolutely devoured drums with their heavy-hitting, precision-perfect style. The two have been friends since middle school and the tightness of their bond was apparent and fun to watch throughout the night. Noticeably absent was Megan Miller, And The Kid’s keyboardist, who while fully involved with the band, is still in Canada after being deported in 2014. Mohan excitedly told the crowd that Miller returns in December.
And The Kids played a set of 12 songs comprised of older tunes such as “Glory, Glory”, “All Day and All Night”, “Friends Share Lovers”, “I Can’t Tell What Time Is Telling Me” and much to my happiness quite a few songs off their latest release including “2003”, “Butterfingers”, “Champagne Ladies” and “No Way Sit Back”, which is impossible to listen to without getting chills. Mohan’s voice soared and towered, never cracking while crawling to peaks and softening in valleys. Her vocal performance was just so damn moving that I’m not ashamed to admit I got pretty choked up hearing her sing. My only criticism is that oftentimes the vocals from both Mohan and Lasaponaro were drowned out by the sound mixing; drums and guitar are king in a tiny space and Friday was no exception.
When Mohan was not making me cry, she was gleefully interacting with the crowd. She pulled items from her Mary Poppins’-bag-like jacket pockets including a small flute she forgot she stored there, a lighter which she lit for a second…for some reason…before tossing aside, and ingredients to a spell that she immediately created (but not before asking us if it was okay) and tossed on the crowd to help set our intentions for new moon wishes. Mohan reminds me of no one and the music she creates with Lasaponaro and Miller breaks all the rules and has all the harmonies. You can’t put a pin in it and that’s why it’s special. And The Kids encored with “Somethings (Are) Good” with Siefker on drums and it was clunky and nice, ending the night of indefinable music on a definite high note.