In the autumn of 2013, Hudson Valley BRAWL (Broads’ Regional Arm-Wrestling League) joined one of its popular and theatrical all-women arm-wrestling tournaments to the O+ Festival in Kingston, situating it in the cavernous “back room” of BSP: a giant, weathered and gutted theater ideal for the enactment of ritual pageantry and post-apocalyptic blood sport. What good fortune this turned out to be for the happening young indie band And the Kids!
The Northampton trio’s O+ set coincided with the BRAWL – or rather, with the end of the BRAWL and the dismissal of its audience. Without other means of egress, the large and roused BRAWL crowd had no choice but to filter past the stage in BSP while And the Kids performed. To the surprise of no one who has seen them, And the Kids took care of the rest like fishing in a bucket, arresting the BRAWLers and everyone else within earshot with their dramatic, electric, alien-siren pop.
And the Kids convert listeners to fans at a rate approaching 100 percent, but the BRAWL scene made for an especially congenial and receptive target. Theatrical in a way that seems less like theater and more like genuinely dangerous ritual, the glitter-faced, all-female And the Kids appeal directly to a mythic and wild place in the mind: They are strident and spangled, lithe and aggressive, animalistic and fantastic, displaced in time and tradition. It’s pop music for a different race, a different species that it aims to coax into being.
Since then, And the Kids have been the toast of Kingston and a special favorite of the influential O+ scenesters. They’ve been back on several occasions, most notably opening at BSP for the Austin indie/classical collective Mother Falcon (and in the opinion of at least one Hudson Valley music writer, triumphing bloodily…not that it’s a competition). On May 9, And the Kids returns to the Anchor in Kingston as part of a Lagunitas O+ party that also includes the Parlor and Matt the Knife.