My first introduction to Kindness was stumbling across their song “House” on YouTube. It’s a quirky, endearing thing that defies categorization as a music video. Only snippets of the song play as they muse on the state of music, teach a kid to play parts of the song and dance as the chorus swells around them.
In “House,” Adam Bainbridge begins with a reflection on pop music that’s stuck with me to this day: “What I like is maybe five percent of the output that pours over this country like the oceans from both coasts, and it’s mostly trash, but that good five percent is so exciting and so vital, and, may I say, so significant that it claims the attention of every thinking person.”
Since that video, and the release of Kindness’s first album, World, You Need a Change of Mind, Bainbridge has made good on exploring pop music in its various forms. There’ve been two more solo albums, stints as a video director for Grizzly Bear and Blood Orange, production work for Solange and a string of collaborations with Robyn. Bainbridge’s love for pop is palpable on many of those projects, but probably most so on “Send to Robin Immediately,” a highlight from the Swedish legend’s triumphant 2018 return, Honey.
Robyn appears throughout Bainbridge’s new release, Something Like A War, as well. Two of those tracks, “Cry Everything” and “The Warning,” served as centerpieces in Kindness’s set at 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, bookended by an under-the-radar Replacements cover, “Swingin’ Party,” and “Gee Up,” from Kindness’ 2012 debut.
Bainbridge navigated the stage gracefully, curating what felt like an intimate house party with an impeccable playlist. As the set progressed, the wall between band and audience crumbled. Fans climbed onto stage and Bainbridge stepped down to dance amid the crowd. The exuberant atmosphere permeated the club until the final words of “House” echoed through the venue: “I can’t give you all that you need, but I’ll give you all I can feel.”
“Swingin’ Party” (The Replacements Cover)
“Hard to Believe”
“Who Do You Love”
“I’ll Be Back”
“Call It Down”
Andy Witchger (@andywitchger) is a naturalist and concert junkie from Minneapolis. You can find his work on Bring Me The News, First Avenue, The Current and his mom’s refrigerator.