by Lola Nedic
Kero Kero Bonito performed at Paradise Rock Club on October 11th. Opening for KKB was Negative Gemini, the Los Angeles-based solo act of Lindsey French. French mostly performed songs off of her latest EP, Bad Baby, which was released in 2018. Her explosive set of genre-bending indie pop songs put the audience in the perfect mood for Kero Kero Bonito.
Band members Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled took the stage first, building up tension before the iconic Sarah Bonito presented herself. After much anxious deliberation amongst audience members, Sarah came out, wearing a puffy silver coat, with the hood up, of course. She immediately took to the keyboard, and the band performed “Battle Lines,” a cut off of their new EP, Civilisation I. After giving audience members a taste of the band’s new direction, Sarah danced around the stage waving a white flag. She then took off her coat, revealing a black skull t-shirt and layers upon layers of silver chains – a change from her usual look and certainly different from Kero Kero Bonito’s musical style.
Throughout the show, Kero Kero Bonito’s witty and seemingly unscripted banter made the show feel all the more personal for the audience. Towards the beginning of the set, the band played the Harry Potter theme song, prompting Sarah to reveal that she is indeed a Slytherin (a shocking revelation for some audience members), thus solidifying her position at the top of my celebrity crush list. The band also put a spin on the iconic voicemail line from “Break,” this time saying “Hey, you’ve reached Gus and Jamie from KKB. We’re performing a show in Boston tonight, so leave your message after the beep.”
The band followed up with “Lipslap,” “Waking Up,” and “Flamingo” all of which generated a dizzying yet very entertaining mosh pit. Performing their three most energetic and popular songs was no small feat for Kero Kero Bonito. Nevertheless, they managed to keep up their energy for all three songs, while Sarah continued spitting her rapid-fire bars without so much as a breath.
Perhaps my favorite song of the night was “Sometimes,” one of Kero Kero Bonito’s more soft, genuine songs, complete with Sarah’s smooth, buttery live vocals. Sarah acted as a conductor, peacefully waving her hands at the audience, whom she affectionately called “The Boston Choir.” It was an undeniably tender moment, and oddly touching to witness a previously raucous crowd suddenly calm down and sway, chanting “everybody gets the blues sometimes.”
Kero Kero Bonito closed off their set with “Picture This,” leaving the audience begging for more. They returned for an encore, with Sarah screaming an enthusiastic “Who’s ready to ROOOOCK” in a death-growl none of the audience members even knew she was capable of. The band covered “Vertigo” by U2, followed by an unexpected yet welcome cover Boston’s “More Than A Feeling.” And, as if the crowd couldn’t get any more excited, Kero Kero Bonito finished with “Trampoline,” which broke my personal record for best (and most life-threatening) mosh pit.
It wasn’t just Kero Kero Bonito’s clever lyrics and infectious beats that made the concert so memorable. Their playful banter in between sets made the concert feel deeply intimate. From Sarah’s exchanges with the audience members to Gus’s crowdsurfing, audience members left the show feeling more connected than ever to the band.