Kindred Queer & Plants and Animals @ BAR – New Haven

The back room of BAR slowly filled as New Haven’s own Kindred Queer took the stage. The experimental folk rock band is young and currently working on their first album, but they packed the front of the stage with eager fans. Front man Xavier Serrano smiled throughout the set, trading vocal harmonies with cellist Shannon Kiley. Serrano’s voice has the smoothness of Andrew Bird while his proficiency on acoustic guitar is reminiscent of Dave Matthews. Third part harmony was added by drummer Quinn Pirie while Evan Cook held down a steady beat on his six string bass. Friends and fans of the band could be seen taking pictures and shooting video of the performance. Serrano, Pirie and Cook huddled together at the end of their set to come up with an impromptu encore thanks to the cheers of the excited audience.

Indie rockers Plants and Animals slipped onto the stage and directly into an instrumental jam. It seemed to take the thinned out audience by surprise, who were gathered around the bar. There was plenty of space to move by the front of the stage while guitarists Nic Basque and Warren Spicer traded solos. Bassist Eric DeGraw watched his band members intensely for the changes. When Spicer stepped up to the microphone, he kept his eyes closed and head down, but there was a cutting edge and intensity to his vocals. He swapped between acoustic and electric throughout the night. Drummer Matthew Woodley whistled and used shakers to begin songs. The crowd reactions ranged from full on dancing to head bobbing.