A year ago, I saw Chance the Rapper perform at the Hollywood Bowl. He broke one of the cardinal rules of performance when he called out the audience for being too uptight, encouraging us to let loose and dance. In his call to action, he acknowledged that Los Angeles audiences are notoriously stiff.
Chalk it up to Angelenos being more self conscious, maybe they have a higher bar, or perhaps it’s that we’re all tight in the lower back from being stuck in traffic. Kali Kazoo‘s bassist, Anthony Vanchure, went out on the same limb last night to start their set at Zebulon by calling for the audience to get right up to the stage.
The audience began to pull in, but then Kali Kazoo began their first song, and I could see it hit the entire room like a punishing right hook a careless fighter leaned right into.
There’s no better way to say it: this band rocks. Kali Fontecchio is a front woman who commands the room with her presence. At first I’m tempted to say that she’s a woman at war, her voice battling over the drums, bass, guitars and crashing over you in a wave. The closest parallel I can think of will inevitably sound like hyperbole, but for her refrains and wails she commands a vocal power not unlike Florence Welch.
I could rattle off a mile of simile and still not be satisfied, because beyond Kali’s vocals her entire band is on point and creating a cocktail mix of sounds and influences with fun, force, and energy. It hit everyone in Zebulon last night like a shot of 151 from the first to last chord of her set.
That force, and that music wasn’t an attack, it was an answer. She and her entire band got up on that stage to respond to: Who is she?
Fuck you, she’s Kali Kazoo.