Live Review: Kaleo at Barrowlands

Kaleo performed to a crowd buzzing with excitement and brimming with enthusiasm in the Barrowlands, marking their second return to Glasgow in a year.

The Icelandic group did not let the waiting audience down after a somewhat confusing mix of supporters. Billy Raffoul was a collection of calm and peaceful tunes, opening the evening. Then again, Judah and The Lion were a mess of electronic music with strong Twenty One Pilots vibes and a two-minute dance session at the end of their set.

Just over a year since their debut album A/B was released, Kaleo have come a long way and continue to conquer hearts over continents with their deep bluesy tunes and dark looks. They’ve been on the road around Europe for about a month now, following up their American tour. Possibly it was this routine that made the guys fail at engaging with the audience fully. Occasionally, the (very) intoxicated couple dancing in front of me were stealing more of my attention than the band itself

Not that they weren’t eye – or ear-catching on the stage. Kicking off with Broken Bones, they set the atmosphere bar high and it felt a bit of a struggle to keep it up. The set was carefully built, but with the lack of crowd interaction felt little like a live performance and more like listening to the album. Of course, it is not a bad thing that the live songs sound exactly like their album versions, especially as the deep bass and Jökull Júlíusson’s voice are an unbeatable combination whatever the occasion. However, a gig is live for a reason – it’s not a DJ set where songs follow each other without much story behind them.

The Iceland boys played all of their hits including ‘Way Down We Go’ and ‘I Can’t Go On Without You’, spiced with a Bang Bang cover, that definitely did full justice for Júlíusson’s voice and the smoky sound. It came as no surprise that the band were asked back to the stage with an enthusiasm no artist could say no to.

It is a Nordic trait to be modest and straightforward, and Kaleo succeeded in showing this. Being very down to earth is the essence of their charm and sometimes there is no need for lengthy banter and unnecessary politeness.

By Suvi Loponen