Ceaselessly Upbeat and Aggressively Positive: Halloween Hijinks in Hollywood with Kero Kero Bonito
LOS ANGELES, CA-
“If you had a bad day, I just want you to remember this moment we shared together.”
If I could sum up the experience of seeing Kero Kero Bonito this past Thursday night at the Fonda in one word, that word would be “fun”. But such a reductive statement would ultimately undermine the kaleidoscopic exuberance Kero Kero Bonito rocks when they hit the stage, and besides … if I did turn in a one-word review, I’d probably never be allowed to write for Blurred Culture again*
* Editor’s note: We like Joe. We’d cut him some slack.
It would be disingenuous of me as someone who plays a lot of video games not to say that I got into Kero Kero Bonito just because they wrote a song that used samples from Super Mario 64 and the old Konami logo from the 16 bit era of games (“Sick Beat” off “Intro Bonito”) … so I’ll just come right out and tell you: I got into Kero Kero Bonito because they used samples from Super Mario 64 and the old Konami logo in one of their songs. This got me in the door but once I walked in, I found inspired pop gems rich with indelible hooks.
Ceaselessly upbeat and aggressively positive, Kero Kero Bonito is the kind of band that gives pop music a good name. Over the course of three albums, KKB (as they’re affectionately referred to by both fans and themselves) have cultivated a reputation as a boundary-defying trio that is as much a pop group as it is a fully-realized touring conceptual art showcase. Punctuated by Sarah Bonito’s sweet vocals, KKB’s sound bounces from carefully crafted dense layers of lush beats to chaotic grunge.
Gleefully embracing the absurdity of stardom, the band’s stage setup was back by an oversized banner of their most recent album, “Time ‘n’ Place,” which features a portrait of singer Sarah Bonito. It was both literally self-aggrandizing and knowingly coy in a Warhol-ian kind of pop art sensibility.
Beyond the visuals, KKB employed a fairly healthy collection of props that would make any progressive rock band from the 70’s proud. There’s absolutely no doubt that everyone involved in KKB’s performance was having a great time on stage and it’s that kind of fervent energy that was infectious, leading to spontaneous mosh pits and crowd surfing throughout their set.
Thursday night’s show was something I was especially looking forward to as a Halloween show seemed a perfect fit for KKB to perform at and the night delivered for sure. Decked out in everything from Mega Man to Beetlejuice, the fans brought their fashionable A-game to the Fonda with members from the band selecting their favorites at night’s end. There might have been more than a little partiality on their part when they chose someone wearing a graduation cap and gown a la the cover of the band’s “Bonito Generation” album but the crowd was all for it and ultimately it was all in good fun.
I feel I should also make special mention of the night’s opener, electronic artist Lealani, who delivers the beep bop boops by way of dark synths and a robotic (but in a good way) vocal delivery that mimics an otherworldly being. She’s a unique performer and one to keep an eye on.
“Thank you for this chance to kick ass.”
Just when the manic lunacy reached its zenith, the band returned for an encore that included covers of U2’s “Vertigo” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name Of” before sending the Halloween revelers off into the night with the band’s de facto thesis statement, “Trampoline.” Fun is what’s promised at a Kero Kero Bonito show and fun is what was had this past Halloween. What a great night.