Winning over a crowd that is almost exclusively in attendance to watch another performer may not have been one of the 12 labours of Hercules, heck it wasn’t even one of the 12 tasks of Asterix, but nonetheless its difficulty should not be underestimated. Tonight at the Scala in North London, it is a task that Kites are to undertake as they seek to entertain and seduce fans of X-Factor contestant, Aiden Grimshaw.
It is not an entirely alien crowd mind you and a few friendly whoops and hollers greet the band as they walk on stage. Then come the drums, pounding out across the floor, filling the venue and counting down the arrival of singer Matthew Phillips. The crowd may not know him now, but they soon will. A perpetual motion machine, he fiddles and moves, dances and skips and struts about the stage. It may well be home to another later this evening, but for now it is his and he is making himself comfortable.
There is a heavier feel to their live set, though that may be due to sound issues that seem to be drowning the keys, and there is something darker too. Matthew’s baritone provides a hitherto unheralded gothic quality to their synth-pop, like a disco Sisters of Mercy. It remains as infectious as ever and the crowd feels it too, warming to the band quick smart. Lively for a Tuesday they may be, but like Matthew, they are all in for some midweek revelry. The whoops are getting louder, the dancing more pronounced, the clap-along’s more enthusiastic and the floor is filling with each song.
On the home stretch now and the task is all but complete. The crowd belongs to Kites, to Matthew and his non-stop energy and charm. Nothing is left on stage as they steam through “Art Tastes Better Blind” and “History”, the crowd dancing, clapping and, as set finale “This Jumped Up Boy In Livery” reaches its crescendo, singing along with almost as much gusto as Matthew himself.
Their show draws to close and as he imparts his thank you’s and goodnight’s the near capacity crowd roars back to Matthew their appreciation. They may not have known who Kites were at the start of the evening but they certainly do now.
“This Jumped Up Boy In Livery” is available now from iTunes
Photo Credit: Adam Shoesmith. Taken at Cargo, May 2012.