What makes a live performance truly great? Is it the musical performance of the artist that drives a concert’s enjoyability, the energy they bring to the venue, the personality with which they perform?
Whatever you consider to be the best aspect of a concert, Kero Kero Bonito brought all of them to Majestic Theatre last Friday night. For those unfamiliar with the style of KKB, it’s difficult to pin down exactly. A mix of electro-pop, punk rock, alt rock and even noise pop, their musical style spans across the board.
With Sarah, the lead vocalist of the group, singing almost exclusively in a high, cloudy voice over pop-based instrumentals, one wouldn’t expect it to be an extremely intense concert. I was one of those people — I was wrong.
With songs such as “Only Acting,” “Lipslap,” “Flamingo” and “Flyway,” KKB brought the house down in Madison. Even as a serious fan of the group, I was truly not expecting their performance to come with so much energy. When someone asks what song a concert hall would be most likely to mosh pit to, the first thought isn’t normally rock and electronic-influenced pop ballads.
Outside of the energy that KKB brought, their strong personality as a band showed throughout their performance. Part of their identity as a group is based around their common themes of adolescence and growing up in a modern world. This can be seen in multiple songs of theirs with titles such as “Graduation,” “Hey Parents” and “Dear Future Self.”
It was quite impressive how the band got this youthful personality to pervade throughout their performances. This was made possible partly through their spoken word skits included throughout their albums that the band performs in the middle of the concert.
In the middle of the song “Break,” in which Sarah sings about lazily choosing to do nothing for the day, the lead singer picked up a prop telephone in order to have a conversation with Gus and Jaime, the two producers of the band, in which she exclaims “It’s Sarah, just to let you know that I don’t want to do anything today. So see you later!” They then swung into ending the song with a final rendition of the chorus.
While this seems like a somewhat corny gaffe to have in the middle of the concert, for those who have listened to these infrequent skits time and time again, it’s a massive pay off and made the concert significantly more enjoyable. Many fans fell in love with KKB for their unique personality that pervades through their music, something would’ve been missing without those cheerful interjections present.
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On top of their impressive musical performances, KKB managed to also get the crowd involved in a significant way. From having them sing the background melody to “Break” to even throwing a couch into the floor seats, KKB never failed to make the fans feel immersed in their performance.
Speaking of the couch stunt, it was the perfect cap to an encore performance in which KKB played their signature song, “Trampoline.” While they originally said that “Picture This” would be their last song of the night, it only took fans a few seconds to realize that they would never leave before playing arguably their most popular song amongst fans.
If you’ve never listened to KKB’s music, give it a try. I should make it clear that their style is not for everyone. But if it strikes a chord within you, I can’t recommend their live performance enough. They’re a perfect mix of raw energy, skillful performance and youthful personality.
To me, this combination is all I could ever ask for.