It's three songs into Kill it Kid’s set and lead singer Chris Turpin is already dripping. The young frontman bears the zeal of James Brown (minus the cape and falling his knees) and he wails producing raw vocals that bring Anthony Hegarty to mind. His characteristic energy is ever-present in each song, not wavering once during the course of the evening.

From the band’s name coming from a song by Blind Willie McTell song to their heavily blues inspired debut, Kill it Kid, the influence of a particular brand of southern bluesy rock is apparent. The touch of folk present on Kill it Kid has all but disappeared, replaced by something harder. With their sophomore effort, Feet Fall Heavy, the band descends deeper into the depths of not only southern blues but gospel music. ‘Pray On Me’ opens opens with the somewhat terrifying screams of one Reverend J.H. Terrell gathered from a 1920s field recording alongside a striking guitar riff and drum accompaniment before launching into Stephanie Ward’s formidable vocals. Terrell’s yells return at the songs midpoint preceding an outstanding instrumental.

Ward and Turpin are a terrific vocal team, be they trading verses such as in ‘Pray on Me’ or bringing their congruent vocals together in the ‘Home’. Ward illustrates that she can wail just as hard as Turpin in ‘Sweetness Got a Hold On’ intersecting his “Sweetness Got a Hold on Me” with a commanding “Goddam, honey won’t you came with me?” In what could be described as a “cool down” moment the band perform ‘Home.’ With a new touch of vulnerability to her voice and initially accompanied only by the keyboard, Ward sings a tale of domestic life than is less than blissful. Chris Turpin’s brief but significant wailing guitar solo is a cajoling precursor to the song’s dramatic surge.

Naturally, the band’s older songs are more polished but that’s not the say that the songs from Feet Fall Heavy are weaker, just that they cannot yet rival the welcome received by earlier songs such as ‘Dirty Water’ and ‘Burst its Banks’.

In blowing away the audience in XOYO’s basement Kill it Kid showcase both their impressive new release and the great live act they have become.

Circus Town

John J Prestley