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Live Review: Kassidy – Monday 7th February 2011 – HMV’s Next Big Thing – Camden Barfly, London, UK

5 min read

Scotland’s laid back folk quartet, Kassidy, have been making a sturdy name for themselves. The band have been touring quite extensively over the past twelve months and have been going from whistle stop venues to large outdoor festivals (including an incredible performance on Latitude Festivals main stage in the summer) as well as prolific spaces including London’s Borderline demonstrating their talents as one of the best musical exports to come out of Scotland in the past ten years.

Equipped with a guitar heavy set up, some bluesy, Americana tones and some impressive harmonizing skills, Kassidy have also been busy releasing some rather neat little EP’s under the title of Rubbergum. Three EP’s have been released so far and the band are now gearing up for the birth of their first full length record, Hope Street, which sees its release at the end of March.

With HMV’s Nest Big Thing festival now fully underway, it was only fitting that Kassidy were invited to play Camden’s Barfly venue to headline one of the first evenings of entertainment.

I have managed to catch these lads several times over the past year and each show has proved to be delivered in spectacular fashion, building on the previous, so the expectations for the gig at this point in their career was pretty high. With the bands first full length album due on March 21st it was also a great opportunity for us  to hear some of the new tracks that are set to be featured on the forthcoming release.

The evening got underway with two support slots filled in by Britain’s Kill It Kid, a quartet of blues influenced rockers and California’s, Young The Giant who proved every bit as energetic and thorough as some of the American states most musically entertaining.

As 10pm hit Kassidy took to the stage, welcomed by a rapturous applause from the 150 strong crowd, sparked by some female wailing and chants.

Kicking straight into the set with The Lost, the band lit the venue up with southern cool and riff heavy energy that got the crowd moving from the first note.

All three Rubbergum EP’s got a nod on the night. EP 1’s additions included a beefy and thunderous performance of The Traveler with the drilling “this is where I wanna be” chorus line that set the mood of the night and showed off the bands close-knit teamwork as they brought the house down with splendor.

One of Kassidy’s early releases and signature hits, Stray Cat, went down extremely well with the bands intricate harmonizing skills paired perfectly with co-front-man, Hamish Fingland, taking the lead vocal honors. Ep 2’s La Revenge was a standout in the set with the atmospheric Ohhh-ing chorus that the band once again put their fantastic harmonizing skills to the test on.

As well as tracks that spanned all three Rubbergum EP’s, Kassidy also threw in a number of tracks that are set to feature on the upcoming album release.

I Don’t Know was one of the key tracks from the new release that we got to hear as well as new single Oh My God which sees Kassidy climbing to new heights with their sound and evolving into a more commercial act.

Taking a ten minute break the band emerged to perform a killer encore. Two songs ended the evening. The a capella track, The Next Move On, which was performed solely by the thumping of front man Barrie James Oniell’s foot pedal and a combination of the foursomes individually distinctive vocals meeting with unique harmony and fan favorite, Take Another Ride which closed the set and was a superb end to the night with its catchy and hook laden melody encapsulated within the bands most mainstream and radio loving song.

The night went almost flawlessly. Unfortunately what the band does lack is the ability to involve the audience in the performance. Though there were a couple of occasions when front main Barrie thanked the crowd for coming down to the gig it was pretty much the extent of communication between the band and audience and we didn’t really get to hear a peep from the other three band members.

It also seems that a more mainstream transition has also taken over the band. The band, it seems, have been given a major image makeover. Front men Barrie and Hamish have traded in their long scrappy locks for shoulder length crops while blonde guitar maestro Chris Potter has taken it a step further and cut all but two inches giving the band a more contemporary look. The bands sound has also been slightly modified. Where a year ago the band were content with the winning combination of four guitars and stripped back harmonizing to delivery their take on the genre, a drum set and bass has been added to rev Kassidy’s sound into more commercial waters. This is a shame because it felt a little like the band was conforming with the usual but that comes at a costly price.

Image and direction aside, Kassidy never fail in delivering a superbly crafted set of well written folk gems worthy of chart success and mainstream appeal and Kassidy’s performance at Tuesdays HMV’s Next Big Thing proves that this is a band we are going to be hearing a lot more from over the next twelve months

Set list:

The Lost
The Traveller
Secret Tells A Lie
La Revenge
That Old Song
Night In The Box
Oh My God
I Don’t Know
Stray Cat
The Betrayal
Next Move On (a capella)
Take Another Ride