The Kaleo Express rolled into Birmingham, not New St, but the Academy tonight.
The 2017 fall tour this year has been named the Kaleo Express tour.
As I arrived I was greeted by a massive queue outside the venue, considering how the live music scene is at the moment, was incredibly heartwarming. The Birmingham Academy is a sizeable holding approximately 3000, it may not have been a sell out, but certainly very close to it.
Doors opened 1900, and we were treated to two support acts, a three piece by the name of Billy Raffoul, a young Canadian singer songwriter with an incredibly ‘gravelly’ singing voice, that works incredibly well with his deep soulful rock and roll music. Alongside Billy Rafoul joing Kaleo on the tour was high energy folk, hop and roll outfit from Tenesee, Judah and the Lion who’s singer JudahAkers literally appeared on stage leaping and jumping around, as he went on to tell us, ‘when we formed the band it was to play what we wanted’, and they did just that. They did however slot a cover in, The Killers Mr Brightside, which went down well incredibly.
As the lights went down Kaleo came to stage the audience were up for it, but the biggest cheer came when J J Julius Son came to the stage. The band is formed around three friends, JJ Julius Son (guitar and vocals), David Antonsson (drums) and Daniel Kristjansson (bass) that grew up in Rejivic Iceland, in 2012 they added Rubin Pollock (guitar). The band signed to Elektra/Atlantic Records in 2015 and relocated to the United States.
Their set was an interesting combination of songs from both albums, Opening the show was Broken Bones, it was certainly a catchy tune that got people going, although by this time they really didn’t need much encouragement. The song rounds out with everyone singing ‘the devils gonna set me free’.
Slowing things down JJ starts whistling for the next song I Can’t Go On Without You. He has a very versatile voice and this song is a little more bluesy’ in style. All The Pretty Girls continues to pick things up a little, a song that’s not only beautiful but changes style again slightly moving more towards a country/southern rock style.
There were many great songs that followed including Automobile, a song with incredibly infectious lyrics that really get inside you. Vor I Vaglaskogi, from the AB album is a cover of an Icelandic long song, having never heard the original, I cant comment on that but they certainly appear to do it justice.
It’s not all slow songs though several times the band picks up the gauntlet and run, Hot Blood is a great example of this. At this point I must mention that slotted in were the two songs the band are well known to many, Way Down We Go and No Good, both of which are received well by an enthusiastic crowd.
As I’ve pointed out much of the set was from latest album AB, but also included several songs from the previous offering entitled simply Kaleo, what I wasn’t expecting though was a cover of Cher’s Bang Bang baby shoot me down.
The set may have been shorter than some, but it was packed with great songs, that had created a fantastic vibe.
The band came back on stage to play an encore, ‘to play some rock n roll’ as JJ had put it, the song aptly entitled Rock n Roller fitted the bill so well. Kaelo are a band that’s getting attention, quite rightly so, but for all the right reasons the music the play that’s not only getting air play on radio stations, but is being used in sound tracks for television and adverts. How can they lose? they are definitely a band on top of their game, and I will be in the queue for when they play live again.