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KALEO Sells Out First Night Of Tour At The Wiltern

Anastasia White Jul 9, 2024

KALEO performed a sold out show on June 20th at the Wiltern for their North American Payback Tour; the first of 2 nights at the venue. The band is an Icelandic-Blues-Rock outfit consisting of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Jökull Júlíusson (JJ), bassist Daníel Kristjánsson, drummer Davíð Antonsson, lead guitarist Rubin Pollock, and Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson performing the harmonica. They are recognizable from their 2015 track “Way Down We Go,” which has garnered a lot of traction on social media. This tour has a large variety of supporting acts, including Neal Francis who supported this show at the Wiltern. This was a slight departure from the shows I normally cover; the crowd was in a much chiller, swaying side-to-side type of mood as opposed to the raucous moshers of my other events. The fans of this band are more on the funk or country side of life, and it’s a treat to be a fly on the wall for another type of crowd for a bit.

Neal Francis and his band have a funky, 70’s rock type of vibe, with psychedelic and New Orleans jazz influences. His live performance is reminiscent of jam bands with flowery, improvisational guitar solos (courtesy of his guitarist Kellen Boersma) that last for a good portion of each song. Francis aims to embody a more classic type of songwriting and performance – especially by recording his album In Plain Sight on tape – and drawing inspiration from the likes of Led Zeppelin, according to his website. While Neal is a bit different from the stylings of KALEO, the crowd was highly entertained; he left his set with explosive fanfare.

KALEO had a very chill stage presence; and they started off with a somber track, "Lonely Cowboy," to ease the audience into the show. The singer has a textured vocal style that fits into the blues-rock genre nicely. The folksy style was a tad nostalgic for me, as I’m originally from the ‘wild west’ of Wyoming and grew up around a spattering of folk, country, and blues as a result. What was incredibly impressive to me was the runs of whistling and harmonica solos throughout the set. They debuted their newest single, "Rock n Roller," and ended their set pre-encore with their most famous track, "Way Down We Go."

Keep up with KALEO here, and Neal Francis here.