The indie-rock band Kaleo kicked off their international headline tour, “The Handprint Tour,” at Center Stage Theater in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 26.
Being a sold-out show, the small venue combined with a copious amount of people made the space seem even smaller. The venue was fully packed by 9 p.m. and there was hardly space to move about. Fans were restlessly fidgeting in their seats, trying to find a spot while bumping elbows or anxiously shifting around in the cramped pit awaiting the band.
When front man JJ Julius Son entered the stage, countless infatuated girls let out repressed cheers and ear-splitting screams that shrilled throughout the room. One managed to howl out an “I love you” to Julius Son, evoking his serious face to flash a shy smile that inspired the infatuated girls to squeal louder.
Kaleo performed songs off of their first and only album A/B. Hit singles like “Way Down We Go” and “All The Pretty Girls” were written and performed by Julius Son.
The band parallels The Black Keys and Bon Iver. Kaleo is an unstoppable force of folky-resonated tones and harmonies accompanied by bluesy melodies. Julius Son’s grit-like vocals tear through an extensive range of notes and a soaring falsetto. He executes them with a powerful vibrato that compliments his gritty tone, giving the band an edgy rock vibe. Julius Son’s whistling is similar to folk artist Andrew Bird’s famous whistling. The guitarist plays with a country twang in the song “Automobile,” similar to Brad Paisley’s famous guitar licks. The fusion of indie, folk, rock, country and blues gives the band a powerful dynamic.
The 4-year-old band from a small town in Iceland comes from humble beginnings. Prior to living in the U.S., three of the bandmates were childhood friends in school. In their late teens, they began playing music together and added their fourth member to form Kaleo in 2012. Rising to the top of charts in Iceland with five hit singles, Elektra/Atlantic Records snatched the band.
Moving to the U.S. in 2015, the band rapidly gained momentum in the span of a year and continues to climb in popularity.
The band is touring with 24-year-old female power-house Bishop Briggs and indie-folk duo The Wind and The Wave.
The Wind and The Wave opened with loud volume and high energy a few minutes past 7 p.m. The duo prepped the audience for Bishop Briggs, who rocked the stage with encores from the audience. Briggs set the bar for Kaleo’s anticipated entrance, who did not disappoint.
“The Hand Print Tour” played another sold out show in Washington, DC on Sept. 30 and will play many more sold out shows across the U.S. through Nov. 11 and in Europe from Nov. 18-30.
The future holds big opportunities for Kaleo, as the band is set to go on tour alongside The Lumineers in February 2017.