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Kaleo At Make Music Pasadena, Saturday June 6th 2015 Review

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I didn’t see Kaleo’s entire set but saw enough of it to be at least, interested. When I arrived at the Playhouse stage, frontman JJ Juliusson was singing with an emotional and high falsetto over a very quiet and soulful music. It was a bit folksy-heartfelt, upbeat and melancholic at the same time, but he soon switched to a lower and fuller voice, and all I can say is that this guy had an amazing range, going, in the same song, from Bon Iver to… I can’t find the equivalent among current artists but it was deeper, very soulful and melodious.

This quartet of mostly blonde good-looking guys are from Iceland, and it seems we are under an Icelandic wave right now, with the success of Monsters and Men, so Kaleo may be next. Soon their sweet eerie songs turned into furious blues after a ‘Are you ready for rock & roll?’ from Juliusson. And this sudden and heavy blues was totally unexpected seeing how softly and eerie they had started. It was now a sort of Gary Clark Jr, or some rootsy blues rock that I didn’t know Icelandic people were capable of. But since kaleo means ‘the sound’ in Hawaiian, they are not your typical Icelandic people although they are apparently already a phenomenon over there.

The action seemed to be more in the guitars themselves than directly on stage, but they had charisma and gorgeous harmonies, plus this bipolar-bimodal style could make them totally unique, because who wants to listen to another straightforward blues band?

They have recorded an EP, ‘All The Pretty Girls’, which is already a great success because of their unique blend of rock, folk and blues and they have now moved to Austin and signed to Atlantic Records, getting ready to record new material with producer Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg)… so expect much more from Kaleo soon.

a few pictures here.


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