Clubland: High-energy trio And the Kids releases EP with party at Iron Horse
PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG And the Kids Purchase photo reprints »
If you want to help Northampton trio And the Kids celebrate the release of its new EP (“Neighbors”) by going to a show at the Iron Horse in Northampton Saturday at 10 p.m., you might want to contact the box office sooner than later.
Even when the band tucked themselves away in Northampton at the Haymarket Cafe’s dimly lit basement last Monday afternoon for an interview, people tracked them down, excitedly asking to buy tickets. The buzz is buzzing.
And the Kids members — Hannah Mohan on vocals/guitar/ukulele, Rebecca Lasaponaro on drums/mandolin/vocals and Megan Miller on keyboards/percussion/vocals — have an energetic camaraderie with each other, and with their audiences, and it’s brought them a lot of fans.
And not just locally: the trio has residencies at well-respected big-city venues like Toad in Cambridge and Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.
The band has been a visible and boisterous busker on Northampton’s sidewalks, attracting a scene with its colorful, involving performances. Mohan’s full-throated voice can pounce into the falsetto stratosphere for animal-esque yelps; Miller’s glockenspiel is like a bright magnet, heard from blocks away.
“WE WANT TO PLAY ALL THE TIME EVERYWHERE,” the booking page on the band’s website (www.andthekidsmusic.com) bluntly shouts, an example of And the Kids’ go-go energy and dedication to their art.
The women, all in their early-20s, have no day jobs, instead spending their time on writing and performing music (the busking helps to make ends meet). They’ve been living together for a year, Monkees style ... though they rehearse in a basement, not a sunny beachfront pad.
“We share one car, one cell phone. We are willing to share literally everything,” Miller said. “It’s definitely a communal lifestyle and I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve become sustainable as full-time musicians so early on.”
But is it good or stressful to not have day jobs? “It’s so good,” Mohan said without a pause. “It’s stressful in the best way. If you don’t have something to do for a day, you kind of have an existential freak out: ‘Why don’t I have any emails to write? Why am I not playing music? Where are the girls? What’s going on?’ ”
What’s going on right now is the band is hand-making the packaging for the new four-song EP (“I’m gluing a bunch of crap to it, in a good way,” Mohan said). Each one will have its own unique design.
“Neighbors” was produced by And the Kids themselves, in just three days at The Institute for the Musical Arts in Goshen, where Mohan and Lasaponaro first met Miller (while they were interns at the IMA’s Rock ’N Roll Camp for girls and young women).
The EP (mixed by Anand Nayak) includes “We Were Wiser,” an anthemic dance song full of helicopter guitar and Arcade Fire power that builds up some dark clouds near its end. Lasaponaro plays a tough marching rhythm on the drums as she and Mohan trade off vocally, pushing the microphones to the max and echoing each other on the line “Makin’ money but you make no sense.”
“I don’t want to wake up when I’m older / and wish I had more time,” Mohan sings on “The Victory,” a song that includes the lyric, “Maybe we’re not crazy / we just have lots of ideas.”
The trio does have lots of ideas; they’re on a creative roll. They’re making a huge banner to decorate the Iron Horse stage; they filmed a video with friend Dre Rawlings to advertise the show; and the band put together a loose seven-piece choir of friends to sing with them on stage for a few tunes; When they got news that one of their songs (“Geology”) had been covered by a Brooklyn band busking in the NYC subways, they asked the group, Bird Courage, to open the big Northampton show.
“We like to think of them as parties rather than shows,” Mohan said, and the band is doing all it can to make the night more than just people onstage playing songs.
The concert will be a themed event, just like the trio’s previous Iron Horse EP release concert last December. Then, the theme was “fantasy.” This time around it’s “future.” Costumes are encouraged: dress as the future and you could win a prize.
Miller said last time around they gave out prizes for “best costume,” but also “most normal dressed.”
“The point isn’t to make anyone feel intimidated by the theme,” she said. “We just want to include everyone. It’s a special occasion, and we want to make it as special as possible.”