Kero Kero Bonito + Tanukichan @ Sala Rossa – 17th November 2018

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Kero Kero Bonito Sala Rossa

Who knew that J-pop purveyors Kero Kero Bonito from London, England were big enough in Montreal to completely sell out the 250-capacity Sala Rossa?! And weeks in advance as well, it wasn’t even close! Looking around the crowd tonight, they’re a thoroughly devoted bunch too; many have donned face glitter and hair dye in imitation of frontwoman Sarah Midori Perry, aka Sarah Bonito. Both band and crowd are here to party… and party they do.

Tanukichan band

The project of Oakland-based Hannah van Loon, Tanukichan are the calm before the storm. They open proceedings in blissed-out dreamy fashion, with a set drawn heavily from this year’s debut full-length “Sundays.” It’s a huge contrast to the sounds of the headliners, but in a good way, and is well received by the packed-out room.

kero kero bonito montreal

Kero Kero Bonito, on the other hand, are a sensory overload from start to finish – again, in a good way. Touring as a 5-piece, band members arrive on stage one by one and begin to thrash out the garage-rock intro of Outside amid a stage backdrop consisting of a pink telephone, a fluffy flamingo, a stuffed crocodile, and a plastic parakeet. It’s quite the audio-visual contradiction! The stuffed flamingo is paraded around the stage by Sarah three songs in, held up aloft to the crowd like a newborn baby being shown to a huge audience! The crowd cheers and sings along with the largely nonsense lyrics of the song as if their lives depended on it. Hearing “how many shrimps do you have to eat / before you make your skin turn pink?!” at such deafening levels is a surreal experience! The stuffed crocodile makes its appearance a little later, during Pocket Crocodile, making an attractive piece of headgear for Sarah…

kero kero bonito review

Afterwards, Sarah asks the question ”do you guys know Only Acting?” The roar that answers her demonstrates that the answer to that question is a resounding yes. An enormous pogo erupts around the room at the chorus, even at the sides where I am chickening out, and is reminiscent of the energy usually seen at a punk show. Further proof that this crowd means business!

Kero Kero Bonito Sala Rossa

A few songs later, Sarah introduces a song: “this is dedicated to the fish in a fishbowl,” as if to introduce Fishbowl. The band looks a little puzzled at this before Sarah realizes “oh, it’s My Party!” Keyboardist Gus Lobban then jokes “this is fish party!” When Fishbowl actually follows next, Sarah prefaces it comedically: “this song is about having a party!”

kero kero bonito photos

Gus soon makes one of the best crowd Thank You’s you are likely to hear: “its great to be back in Montreal, shout out to Orange Julep, the Canadiens, Villages Des Valeurs, CFCF, lots of cool stuff!” Covering the bases there! Another massive bounce-along then accompanies Sick Beat.

kero kero bonito live

And then the encore is massively entertaining as well! Instead of the usual wave-and-walk-back-on-stage you typically see at shows, the band come back on stage fake-fighting with Tanukichan and her band, throwing punches and grappling around the stage. As an incendiary Trampoline closes out the set, Tanukichan and band bounce around the stage before taking off crowd-surfing around the room as the deafeningly-loud crowd bounces one last time. After 70 minutes, its all over, and we can finally take a breath. Surely there wasn’t a better party than this anywhere in the city tonight!

kero kero bonito setlist

Review & photos – Simon Williams

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