Full Speed Ahead: A Review of Kaleo's Fall 2017 Express Tour at the Wiltern

Kaleo performing at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California on August 26, 2017.
Kaleo performing at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California on August 26, 2017.

Icelandic rock-blues band Kaleo just began their Fall 2017 Express Tour with shows in Orange County and Los Angeles, California. Last night, the band performed at L.A.’s iconic Wiltern theatre, along with opening acts, Nashville-based Wilder and L.A.-based The Shelters.

In recent months, Kaleo has mastered rock radio with their haunting hit “Way Down We Go” and has surely been rising on the radars of music lovers across the states and around the world. Led by lead singer JJ Julius Son, whose voice is truly unmatched, the band has united guitar-loving, tambourine-tapping audiences, in our ever-growing electronic dance world.

Opening in a minimalistic fashion, Julius Son’s dark, deep, gospel-inspired voice filled the gorgeously ornate theatre, blowing away any critics that think one person’s vocal cords cannot fill a venue of such size. The band played through hits off of their 2016 album A/B, which echos everything from 1930s blues with “Broken Bones” to 1950s folk with “Automobile” to 1970s hard rock with “Hot Blood.” Julius Son also did not disappoint when breaking out into his sweet, yet strong, falsetto on the band’s ballad “All the Pretty Girls.”

In addition to playing these finely recorded tracks, the true talent of the band was also demonstrated through several blues-based jam sessions and songs that occupied the remainder of the band’s stage time. Julius Son’s voice is simply an instrument in itself and can riff along with any guitar or harmonica that presents itself.

Seeing this band in a larger venue, like the Wiltern, only proved one thing. This band is going places and can support audiences of a much larger size. Kaleo’s Express Tour? It is full speed ahead.

Kaleo performing at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California on August 26, 2017.
Kaleo performing at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California on August 26, 2017.
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