Last night, I headed on down to Houston’s Satellite Bar, where the line to get into the venue stretched out to the Whataburger next door and beyond. I had never seen such a crowd for an act at this venue of this size, so it was pretty exciting! I wonder if the staff themselves knew just how culturally prevalent Kero Kero Bonito are in 2018.
It was a lot of fun mingling with friends new and old (some I haven’t seen in years, but that’s not what this blog is about eh?), and after getting myself a nice vodka cranberry, I headed up as close to the front of the stage as I could for the show.
First act on the bill was Houston’s own Pearl Crush, the synth-pop slash dream-pop project fronted by Mandy Kim Clinton. Another artist that I experienced for the first time through a show, her set was quite fantastic. Pearl Crush’s brand of pop is one of virtually unmatched quality. I was reminded of Asobi Seksu, as well as faint touches of Crystal Castles and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Great stuff, and Mandy’s vocals were on point!
Highlight of the Set : True Blue + Bend Until You Break
Tanukichan were the second band up, and their sound was very nineties reminiscent, gritty guitars and dreamy vocals galore. Frontwoman Hannah van Loon reminded me very much of Furukawa Miki of Supercar, and a few songs in the set also carried that early Supercar vibe, something I appreciated very much, whether intentional or not.
Highlight of the Set : The Best
After a couple of minutes of music courtesy of a DJ, KKB finally began their set! Members came up on stage one at a time to the Time ‘n Place opening track “Outside”, and the energy levels skyrocketed as Sarah Bonito made her first appearance (and they legitimately skyrocketed, kids were starting to mosh…..). From here on out, KKB surprised me, as older songs were rearranged from their original PC/electropop styles into the group’s current grunge meets shoegaze lo-fi aesthetic. I didn’t ever consider it a possibility, but it really worked and is proof that KKB have polished this new sound and style (something I knew they could do at the time I reviewed Time ‘n Place).
We got a very solid setlist, a mix of Bonito classics and the best cuts from Totep and Time ‘n Place. I was most impressed by You Know How It Is, Time Today (the only songs that didn’t seem vastly different to their recordings), Homework (with an excerpt of Pocket Crocodile), Fish Bowl and Picture This. Everyone was in top form, and it was so fun seeing Sarah command the stage (and the callback bits between her and Gus got me giddy!) with her effortless gusto.
After a short break post closing, the band returned for an encore, a hyped up noisecore arrangement of the KKB staple “Trampoline”. It definitely brought the energy to a new extreme, and even had a bit where Sarah went into death growl mode. Entertaining, if not a bit amusing!
All in all, this was a gig I won’t forget, I got to meet Sarah and take a picture, as well as getting a quick chat in with Pearl Crush’s Mandy, both ladies were an absolute pleasure to meet and I anxiously await their next shows! This was Kero Kero Bonito’s first Houston show, and I sincerely hope they enjoyed it!
Setlist : Outside / Lipslap / Flamingo / Only acting / You know how it is / Time today / If I’d known / Break / My party / Fish bowl / Sick beat / Make believe / Homework+Pocket crocodile / Visiting hours / Flyway / Swimming / Cinema / Picture this / Trampoline