CMJ kicked off this week with night 2 of Kero Kero Bonito‘s performance at Palisades. The sold-out show restricted CMJ badges down to the first 25 show-goers.
The night began with Brooklyn by way of Japan duo LOVE SPREAD whose experimental brand of “bitpop” combined Japanese video game sounds with harder rock and electronica. Made of the two vocalists, Narumi Iyama and Ryota Machida aside from the standard guitar and backing tracks, incorporated more unconventional instruments such as an Xbox controller as a pitch adjuster and a homemade synth controller that looks like a vintage arcade pad adorned with lights. Listening to their demo on bandcamp, the live performance leaves something to be desired, trading some of the smoother melodic qualities for brash yelling.
After the stage was cleared, in keeping with the theme of multicultural local performers, Balún lead by vocalist Angélica Negrón brought a diverse flair to her setup, playing accordion, synthesizer, and various percussion instruments. Heavily reminiscent of the Washed Out/Toro Y Moi era chillwave, the quartet played a transcendental set, backed by projection art to complement their artistic sentiment.
While I don’t typically favor DJ sets, Bruce Smear brings a visual component to his tracks (and still uses an IBM laptop) with his three dancers providing an intense experience. With their transcendental moves, flashing strobe lights, and Smear’s heavy mixes (throwing in everything from Missy Elliot to One Direction) the set made for a highly immersive 30 minutes and not necessarily for the faint of heart.
Closing out the show was headliner, U.K. trio Kero Kero Bonito, with the instrumental combo of Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled backing vocalist Sarah Midori Perry. With a packed house by the end of the night, the intimate venue was fairly humid and the space a bit more dense, nonetheless Sarah brought an amazing energy that got the crowd right on their feet, starting with their self-titled track “Kero Kero Bonito”, and ripping through their very narrative LP, with Sarah introducing each track. Ending their set on their latest single “Picture This”, the singer seamlessly flowed through rapping in Japanese and English whilst bouncing around on stage like a bolt of energy.
Kero Kero Bonito