MUSIC – This Is The Kit at Leith Theatre


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STRONG and serene like a blade of willowy grass that curves with the wind – Kate Stables takes up her emotions with a compelling flow and honesty that beckon us to follow.

Image: Ryan Buchanan

This Is The Kit is the much-beloved musical project of Stables. 

The singer songwriter has an impish knowingness as she ruminates over curious lyrics with the appeal of a modern-day sourceress, reeling us in for another night of EIF musical wonder at Leith Theatre.

Bathed in the colours of the ocean – I’m always impressed with the lighting prowess of the technicians at this exciting venue – from pale moon-rising blue to turquoise and purple, the Bristol/Paris based chanteuse melts into a swirling dream sequence of songs from her widely cherished Moonshine Freeze album.

And mesmerised we follow her words, lullabying in turns and supercharging into life at others musings on the tough nature of life, as an eight piece band let rip with force and occasional tambourine rattles.

The horn section and guitars are ruddered always by careful vocals that shimmer, rise and fall with Stables’ vital charismatic personality.

Hailed by BBC 6Music DJs as something of a folk genius, her brand of psychedelic balladeering has a cross-over indie appeal and crystallises the very best strands in her genre from the past five decades.

Image: Gaelle Beri

Assured, funny and confident she entertains in every sense as the audience rock and sway with her gentle tempo.

With four albums under her belt – a couple produced by John Parish, PJ Harvey’s long-time collaborator – a winning warmth and calm, she prompts a clear yearning for her next offering. She nails a date for one heckler: 2021.

Engaging us between songs with chatterbox ramblings about how she slept in this morning with a dog by her side and tomorrow will go the the Pianodrome; she recommends a couple of not-to-miss festival shows.

She clearly loves her accomplished band and is sad when a member of the horn section has to leave early. We all bid him goodbye. It’s all very hearty and convivial; like being drawn around a winter hearth to huddle in for another musical yarn.

Mysterious lyrical narrations and incantations translate pain into something a little less so and somehow we all feel the analgaesic effect.

From BulletProof’s and the ‘cycles of three triangles’ that are apparently so ‘tricky’ to Hotter Colder and its haunting scoop into the darkness of ‘fragile sanity’ that is ‘treating us so roughly’ we are enthralled.

Her voice harmonises effortlessly and has a constancy about it that is comforting. A banjo sounds at first like a mandolin and then goes back to being a banjo. She also wields a great big red guitar.

And though the auditorium is not much more than half full – Stables is enjoying herself.

This is the best gig ever before bed – a spiritual self-caring act like bathing in milk and honey or at least having a neck rub with something scented and transporting.

A session with This Is The Kit rules out any need for knock out drops.

Sweet dreams!