Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The Kin deliver for the people

Evan Sahagian/Collegian

“I feel like people want to know that you’re human. The whole ’70s and ’80s ‘rock God’ is dead.”

You would be hard-pressed to hear these words from most up-and-coming bands today, but Isaac Koren of The Kin was true to his words as he delivered a truly heartfelt performance with his bandmate and brother, Thorald Koren, and drummer Shakerleg at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Oct. 19.

The opening act from Philadelphia, Find Vienna, had a much more punk rock, upbeat sound. The group got the night off to a rocking start, with energetic singing from frontman Patrick Mencel.

What is special about The Kin is how the band really becomes one with the audience when performing live and that reflected during the show. Using call and response, members of the band even got everyone involved with the actual music itself. Highlights from The Kin included a very touching performance of “Never Be the Same,” one of the group’s slower and popular songs.  Both brothers were on tune as they harmonized on the microphone with rehearsed precision.

The Kin’s success shouldn’t be attributed to just the siblings, however. Every band needs some X factor, and The Kin’s drummer Shakerleg provides just that.

It was an incredible sight to see him pounce on his drum set with his bare hands, completely in the zone. The ferocity with which he hit cymbals and snares alike makes it difficult to see that he doesn’t use drumsticks.

Some of the songs, such as “Crossfire,” had downright addicting drum patterns and the Iron Horse’s acoustics delivered the bass drum straight to the chests of fans in the crowd.

As always, The Kin performed its signature offstage acoustic songs, “America,” “Mary” and “The Weekend,” surrounded by fans that clapped and sang along. This has become something of a tradition at the group’s concerts.

“We don’t know how to not do (the acoustic portion) anymore,” Isaac said. “We were in Minneapolis and the P.A. cut out, so we had to finish the rest of the set offstage. And it went down so well that for the last two and a half years we’ve done it at every show.”

Currently, the band is finishing its third studio album and touring to cities like Chicago, Detroit and Boston. After getting signed to Interscope, much of the pressure of thinking of the big picture has been lifted.

Northampton is one of the group’s favorite spots to perform.

“I’m sure musicians are blown away every time they come here by the culture and people listening, really listening,”  Isaac said. “This is one of the places we almost considered moving to.”

The Kin remains refreshingly humble and down to earth, as was evident through its friendly interactions with audience members before and after the show.  Ask the members what their favorite things about being musicians are, and the answer is “the people.”

“It’s the best way to meet people because (we) get to experience them at their best,” Isaac said. “An accountant meets people who are worried about money. But a musician meets people who are inspired by life and are dancing and singing.”

Ayush Kumar can be reached at [email protected].


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