Kero Kero Bonito is one of those bands you come to know even less about the more you listen to their music. The image they create from each song becomes shattered on the next, and so on and so on.
The indie pop trio from London recently brought their eccentric, and often bizarre, live show to Sister Bar in Albuquerque on April 8, redefining their signature fusion of indie rock, J-pop and other genres.
Sister was nearly-packed as the show began (surprising for a Monday night show), with many of those in attendance donning extravagant costumes and multi-colored hair.
Any review of Kero Kero Bonito would be incomplete without the voice and face of the group, lead singer Sarah Bonito. While already a charismatic vocalist, the energy she exuded on the stage served as the linchpin of the entire performance.
Listening to KKB’s music, there is the obvious influence of J-pop, especially when Sarah is singing in Japanese. However, it would be misguided to ignore the many other influences they implement, including indie rock and hip-hop. This is especially true on their latest record, Time ‘n’ Place, which came out last year and made up the bulk of their setlist.
Her personality was especially apparent during crowd-favorites “Flamingo” and “Pocket Crocodile.” During both tracks, Sarah would place a stuffed animal — a flamingo and crocodile — respectively on her head and danced with the music. It was truly the most wholesome musical performance I have ever seen.
Their set also included an amazing cover of The Clash’s “The Prisoner,” with the punky guitars of the famed London rockers being replaced by buzzing synths. Had they not said it was a cover beforehand, I would have assumed it was just another pop-punky track in the KKB wheelhouse.
Throughout the entire show, the crowd was dancing frenetically, nearing the edge of losing their minds with every track. That energy finally spilled over on the band’s encore performance— “Trampoline.”
The track is already very high energy; literally everybody in attendance was jumping like crazy. Sarah kicked it up another notch, however, by adding some vicious death growls near the end, triggering a mosh pit near the front of the stage.
Kero Kero Bonito are all about creating labels for themselves and subsequently shattering them. If you are a fan of literally any kind of music, there is something in KKB’s sound for you, whether you are throwing fists in the pit or waddling with a stuffed crocodile on your head.
Kyle Land is the editor-in-chief for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.