Concert/ Music Review 11.18.16
While many people know about higher ground, with it’s two high ceilinged rooms, few chairs, and intense show lighting, Signal Kitchen is a smaller basement venue in Burlington Vermont. There are couches along the walls and a low stage. The ceilings are low, and it’s dimly lit with an elevated bar near the back and pipes along the walls. It feels intimate, and it’s a good place for up and coming bands, or smaller bands with a devoted fan group to come play.
Descending down a steep flight of stairs for a slumber party is maybe not the typical setting for a rock concert, but And the Kids is not a typical rock band. They’re self described by the lead singer and guitarist, Hannah Mohan, as unconscious accessible existential indie glitter popsicle crisis music. Unlike many bands these days, And the Kids celebrates their playful childishness. They remember what it’s like to be young and instead of trying to grow up within their music, they embrace it. It’s telling, and inspiring. Their music is complex, with unexpected vocal harmonies and intertwining chords, but their lyrics speak to youth, and the trials of young people. It is in no way mainstream, and that is what makes it interesting. They connect with the audience, and they don’t look like they’re trying for anything in particular. Hannah Mohan, the lead singer, guitarist, & songwriter, wears glitter in tear shapes on her face, and her short blonde hair up in a tiny ponytail on the top of her head. She has tiny tattoos all over her, including the middle of her bottom lip. Rebecca Lasaponaro has her glitter in a strip from cheek to cheek across her nose. She navigates drums and glockenspiel easily, switching the beat and singing along with Hannah when needed. Unfortunately the other founding member of the band, Megan Miller, the synth player, ran into visa issues in the earlier days of the band, so she can’t enter the country for another couple of years. But, they have a lawyer working on that. In the meantime, they’ve picked up Taliana Katz, the bassist. She kicks her shoes off halfway through the set, and lies down in the middle of the stage, still playing but bicycling her legs with Hannah, the singer. She watches her bandmates carefully, joining in with harmonies and dissonances, and she isn’t afraid to tell the soundboard she needs more volume. Some bands have basic background music to highlight the singer, but this band is ahead of that. They all sing, and they all play, and they do it in a polished yet creative way. They’re authentic, and maybe that comes with the fact that they’re still rather small, without the pressure widely popular bands face. But, they’re wildly popular with the fans they do have. During the first few songs, they take turns putting lipstick on each other, (“you’re next baby, get pretty!”, Hannah tells Taliana, who rolls her eyes and reluctantly agrees) and later in the set, they call one of the opening musicians up. They put lipstick on her too, which quickly turns into giving a few front row listeners lipstick as well. The entire concert is slumber party themed complete with pillows and blankets all over the stage, and there’s a costume contest. People sing along with almost all of their songs, and the front few rows are all moving and dancing, some people more than others. The crowd is mostly people in their twenties, maybe from colleges in the area. They’re about the same age as the band members. Some of them have been inspired to create their own music because of seeing the band play, and some of them are just there for the ride. After they leave the stage, they cheer loud enough for them to come back. It’s clear they weren’t planning on it. Hannah tells the crowd that they don’t have anything planned, and asks for suggestions. People ask for an old old song, from the early days of the band. She at first refuses, saying it isn’t going to be good, and that they might not even remember it. But of course, she sings, and it turns out okay with some help from the audience. They’re a relatively young band, but in the words of a random guy from VT, “those women really know how to rock”.