Kero Kero Bonito wows at Regency Ballroom 

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On Oct. 30, experimental musicians Kero Kero Bonito stopped by San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom to perform to an enthusiastic crowd, taking on a hard rock sound. Opening with its song “Battle Lines,” Kero Kero Bonito sounded nearly indistinguishable from how the band members sound on the album — creating a near-seamless consortium of crisp, clean sounds.

The London band formed when singer Sarah Midori Perry, known by her stage name Sarah Bonito, met producers and multi-instrumentalists Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled via an online bulletin board. Since meeting and forming a group, the members of Kero Kero Bonito have become known for their quirky mix of sickly-sweet pop, with a dash of electro rock. 

The band then gained two additional performers for its show —  guitarist James Rowland, and drummer and mixer Jennifer Walton. At the concert, Rowland and Walton shined. Rowland frequently amused the audience with his exaggerated mannerisms and facial expressions. Walton, meanwhile, created a wonderful onstage dynamic with the other band members with a consistent, comforting backing beat — allowing band members to constantly be in dialogue with one another.

The band then performed perhaps one of its best known songs, “Flamingo,” to the roar of the audience. The song’s lyrics humorously ponder the quantity of shrimp necessary for a flamingo to turn pink, and is one of the group’s most popular songs. The band’s performance was visually accompanied with Sarah Bonito pumping up a stuffed toy pink flamingo on stage.

One of the more amusing aspects of the night involved Bonito regularly asking the audience members if they were “ready to rock,” accompanied by her occasional head movements back and forth to the strumming of heavy guitars and even heavier beats.  Bonito continued to be exceptionally cordial to the audience, offering life advice and imploring members to be happy. Overall, the singer used the music of Kero Kero Bonito to symbolize kindness and positivity. 

It seemed as though the band went through most of the major songs in its discography in its setlist, playing for almost an hour and a half. If a lesser band had played a set this long, audience members may have gotten tired — but Kero Kero Bonito consistently kept the audience’s energy up throughout the night.

The set up of the stage was simple and comfortable — the background included only a clear picture of the band, and in front of it there was a plush dark blue couch.  When they weren’t playing a song, members of the band would lounge on this couch, creating a welcoming atmosphere for an already-relaxed concert. Kero Kero Bonito ornamented its performance with various props, including different stuffed animals and fake telephones — adding some theatrics to the set, while keeping the audience engaged throughout the evening.

An interesting part of Kero Kero Bonito’s performance was experiencing just how dedicated the band’s fans were. The crowd was more than happy to jam out to some sick beats on a Wednesday night, belting out the lyrics for almost every song — even the ones that were in Japanese — and enthusiastically moshing to even the slower numbers.

Ending the night with “Trampoline,” Kero Kero Bonito kept the positive energy rolling, and reminded the audience that life’s like a trampoline — even when you’re down, you can always bounce back up with a little help from the music of Kero Kero Bonito.

Highlights: “Sick Beat,” “Lipslap,” “Picture This”

Contact Zoë Cramer at [email protected].