By Matt Yuyitung, photo by Angela Tilley
Tight, energetic, and precise, The Kents brought their “friendly, neighbourhood indie pop” to a set at House of Targ on Jan. 5.
The band’s set consisted of tracks off their 2016 release Waking, as well as some newer songs the band aims to include on an upcoming full-length record. They also received a very positive audience response to a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”
Singer/guitarist Warren Frank did a strong job of keeping the crowd engaged, leading a singalong to their song “Something About Her,” and giving shoutouts to the House of Targ’s famed perogies.
Skillfully balancing Freddy Kwon’s nimble lead guitar lines alongside Frank’s steady rhythm guitar, the band gracefully moved through their set, concluding with an encore performance of the older track, “Reminder.”
Opening groups included Ottawa alternative group Missioner, and Toronto indie group Thrifty Kids.
The Kents was formed as part of a high school guitar class project, playing acoustically until progressing into an indie group. They all attended different universities before coming together again to seriously pursue music, Kwon said.
While in school, the group worked on material by sending portions of songs to each other, and being together has made for a more “communal” songwriting experience, according to Frank.
“We all have different songwriting abilities and little quirks we bring to the table,” Kwon said. “It kind of just meshes together really well.”
The band cites groups like Hollerado, Half Moon Run, and Arkells as big influences on their work.
Frank described their sound as “indie pop in constant transition,” and said their sound frequently changes.
“I don’t think we’ve fully found our sound,” Frank said.
Hailing from Lindsay, Ont., the group acknowledged they feel the impact of coming from a smaller town.
“I think we’ve been able to get a lot of support that a lot of bands aren’t able to get at the start, which is crucial to A) your confidence and B) your ability to play different scenarios,” Frank said.
“Small towns will really rally around people working hard in the industry, so I think that’s benefitted us in a huge way,” Frank added. “Lindsay’s proud to have the musical acts that it does, and we feel that for sure.”
Since then, the band said highlights include playing a “rowdy” Christmas show in Lindsay, an EP release show in Toronto, and covering Weezer’s Blue Album in its entirety in Thunder Bay.
Over the next year, the band said they see more shows and a new album in their future.
“We’re just hoping to play as much as we can come summer, maybe jump on a tour with someone else, hopefully play some festivals, and then get into the studio in the fall to record a full-length album,” Tanner Paré, the band’s drummer, said.
The group dreams of perhaps touring someday with groups like the Arkells, given their influence on their style.
“They’re doing super well as a Canadian band, super well as a Hamilton band, so it would be awesome to go on tour with them,” Kwon said. “They’ve been a huge influence on our songwriting.”
“Unrealistically, Arcade Fire. Realistically, Half Moon Run,” Paré said, when asked about dream tour partners.
Bassist Luke Shauf had even loftier goals.
“Kanye,” Shauf joked.