Sunday, October 03, 2021

Kero Kero Bonito take us to Heaven and back with their return to live performances

Kero Kero Bonito’s return to live performances could not be more fitting, or timed more poetically. This project’s concepts of existential and humanitarian themes played into making this event feel unmissable. The concert took place at Heaven night club in London - fittingly so, with the band originating in the capital city.

Traditionally, the concert was preceded by opening acts, one of which was the very talented  Laura Groves. However, after the opening acts had concluded, KKB’s band members: Sarah, Gus, and Jamie appeared on stage. 

The performance began with Sarah removing a gown from her face before bursting into song with the first track from the 'Civilisation I' EP - ‘Battle Lines’. Which stylishly walks the line between danceable yet thought provoking, this performance set the tone of energy this concert was going to bring. The thud from the breakdown at the end, the interwoven synths and snare hits complemented by the lighting on the set is a feeling of elation I had never experienced.

This introduction was followed by ‘Lipslap’ - from one of their previous albums - ‘Bonito Generation’ which perfectly captures KKB’s sound and energy. Their stylistic approach to light hearted and enjoyable, yet meaningful and symbolic music translated to an engaging experience which the entire crowd could synergise with.

The band’s performance of ‘Flamingo’ has to be acknowledged for the infectiously catchy hook beaming through the crowd – not to mention the cultural meme status the single was able to reach. The fanbase’s appreciation for this song was made apparent by the general familiarity the crowd had with the Japanese lyrics within the track being sung by the crowd. This was accompanied by the backing visuals referencing popular videos and online creators who assisted with this track’s claim to fame. Similarly, the performance of ‘Bugsnax’ continued the vibe of upbeat and enjoyable music for the crowd to respond to - with some light-hearted props being thrown in during the performance such as bug nets and an outfit change, to name a few.

Fittingly, ‘21/04/20’ - a song detailing life during the pandemic was performed, with the accompanying visuals on the screen behind for the music video communicating even more of a heartfelt sentiment during this song. There was also a tribute to the late SOPHIE in the form of ‘BURN RUBBER’, which was an unexpected, yet welcome track to see performed live in her memory. After performing ‘Swimming’ the band focused on completing the rest of their newest album in live format with ‘Well Rested’ and ‘The River’.

The penultimate track of the night, ‘Trampoline’ inevitably had the entire room jumping during the chorus. The performance emphasised a certain charm to seeing adults in a club bouncing around to innocent, light hearted tunes about trampolines, and Sarah’s wholesome and reassuring passages “Even if you're falling / that's okay! / There's a trampoline waiting for you! / It's so easy, you just have to believe!” were expressed in a way that convincingly reassured the crowd directly in front of her.

The set concluded with ‘I’d Rather Sleep’ which was a pleasant contrast to the energy from the prior track, once again completing a balance of perfect timing and pacing throughout the event; to which Sarah fell asleep and was carried off stage. A perfectly ironic end to such a lively performance.

The excellent track selection, and how effectively Kero Kero Bonito’s catchy writing and exciting production can translate to a live performance helped make this concert a consistent and enjoyable experience. All of this alongside Gus and Jamie’s complementing characters with the band’s on stage presence brought it to another level. It was unforgettable seeing this band live, and I hope I get the pleasure of doing so again in the future.

James McKnight

Image: ‘Civilisation’ Official Album Artwork

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