When I saw the lineup for this concert, I was immediately intrigued, but also confused. The two main bands listed, Frankie Cosmos and Kero Kero Bonito, are entirely different genres. Frankie Cosmos is a mix of indie-alternative-folk while Kero Kero Bonito creates hybrid indie J-pop. Both bands have similar levels of popularity in their respective niches, but it was the Kero Kero Bonito fans who showed up in force. Frankie Cosmos sounded great live, but you could tell that the audience was waiting for the more energetic sound of Kero Kero Bonito.
As soon as Kero Kero Bonito came on, the venue came to life. My friend and I were front and center at the start of the set and by the end had been completely pushed to the side by the mosh. I’ve never seen an entire concert venue dance and bounce as they did for Kero Kero Bonito.
The intimate and concentrated layout of The Regent Theater was to thank for this. The venue was not much wider than the stage itself and the crowd was kept in a small area so that the energy of the performance did not dissipate even in the outer edges of the crowd.
The main reason for this tour was the release of Kero Kero Bonito’s new album Time ‘n’ Place. The album is a departure from the synth-heavy J-pop beats of their first two albums. The album maintains its J-pop influences in a subtler way and has a more traditional indie-alternative sound. What was interesting was that they applied this new sound to their old music during their set. A friend described it like it was as if she was listening to rock covers of electronic music. It was sometimes odd to hear the tactile sound of a physical instrument when in my mind the song was based on the clean digital notes of a synthesizer.
Nonetheless, Kero Kero Bonito maintained high energy throughout their set and I loved every minute of it. While the rest of the crowd may not have been as receptive to the opening bands, Tanunkichan, and Frankie Cosmos, I thoroughly enjoyed both.
Photo by Antoine Delcayre