Kindness – 100 club 15/5/2012 1

Kindness – 100 club 15/5/2012

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Released earlier this year, ‘World, You Need a Change of Mind’ the debut album from Kindness was a record that split critics in two. Some praised the deep funk, the nods to house and disco and the subdued melancholy of Kindness Main-man Adam Bainbridge’s vocals. Others criticized the records try-too-hard sterility and accusations of calculated musical genre-hopping. Opinions aside, what matters tonight is how Bainbridge’s songs sound live in front of the crowd who are here for tonight’s free show courtesy of Converse and the 100 club.

Before Kindness takes centre stage the slowly filling 100 club is treated to Becoming Real whose intense, swooping Electronica is sadly met with polite ‘Getting it’ nods from the small crowd timidly watching . The energetic shape throwing that provides visual accompaniment to the aggressive beats and glacial synths of his set sadly puts the crowd here to shame. It would be interesting to see this talented musician play to a more energetic crowd for his music’s sake, to see the exchange of intensity between artist and audience. It ultimately seems like a sad case of efforts wasted for Becoming Real tonight.

Anyone expecting a visual representation of the mournful, late night funk influenced vibe of kindness’s Debut album would be sorely disappointed when Adam Bainbridge takes to the stage. Looking like Ollie from ‘Made in Chelsea’ at a fancy Dress party where the dress code is ‘Come as Patti Smith’, the suit and Skinny jeans clad Bainbridge seems to be on a mission to pose and preen as much as possible throughout tonight’s set. It’s the smug, self-awareness that ruins opener ‘Cyan’ reducing the album’s first single to an exercise in cheesy smarm. With a full band (including two backing singers who are under the impression that they are in midst of decadent, Studio 54 hedonism, when in fact they look like they have commandeered the podium at a horrible, depressing West-end nightclub after too many 2-4-1 cocktails) onstage tonight’s set is still smothered in the Slap Bass that ruined the majority of ‘World, you need a change of mind’ (at one point Bainbridge takes control of a bass guitar for one of two outings for the song ‘House’ adding no more than two random thumbslaps in every verse to show off his ‘musicianship’) and a sound that is the blandest of  funk-disco and makes M People sound as vital as the Minutemen. It’s a shame that Adam Bainbridge’s immediately unlikable arrogance tramples over Kindness’s cover of ‘Swingin’ Party’ by The Replacements which, regardless of whether you like or loathe ‘World,..’, is an indisputably perfect version of the Westerberg classic and a highlight of Kindness’s album, squeezing every emotional drop out of the original and condensing that to beautifully lonely Talking Heads pop. What could have been a redeeming set highlight is kicked to the kerb as Bainbridge is content to cold shoulder the song in favour of more pouting and posing, looking directly at whichever Video, Digital or smartphone camera is pointed at him. It’s up for discussion whether Adam Bainbridge is knowingly doing this on purpose, to be at odds with the image of the Reclusive musician he was tagged with prior to the release of ‘World, you need a change of mind’ ( at one point during the end of a song that leaves Bainbridge flat on his back, legs up, silver winkle pickers pointing to the ceiling, he camply exclaims “How undignified”), If this is the case then it is a huge misstep, reducing the good parts of tonight’s set to comedic lameness. The lasting impression of Kindness tonight was of Adam Bainbridge dancing around a handbag belonging to a female audience member, holding a pint of lager aloft like a pissed office junior that’s enjoyed the free bar at the work Christmas party a little too much.
Much has been spoken of the 3 year break between the time when ‘Swingin’ Party’ surfaced online as a lone track to when ‘World, you need a change of mind’ was released. Some said it was calculated musical hibernation, to ride out the lazy comparisons to the boom of ‘Chillwave’ that was happening in music. On the strength of tonight’s performance it would seem that Adam Bainbridge spent a large chunk of those wilderness years practising his stage moves and pout for those all-important cameras that will always be an important fixture at Kindness shows.


Lewie Peckham

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.