Photo by Julian Brier
I became completely enamored with Kiltro back in April when I first heard "Guanaco." The mixture of Latin folk and shoegaze was nothing like anything I'd heard before, and each single just sucked me in more and more. Since Underbelly was released earlier this month, I've played it an embarrassing amount of times, and get more and more into it each time. Sometimes you can just tell when a band will be amazing live, so I had to check them out when they came to Boston at the legendary Club Passim.
I certainly wasn't expecting the configuration Kiltro is currently touring as. Chris Bowers was on vocals, guitar, keyboard, and loops, and was joined by a bass player, a second guitarist, and two drummers. In case that wasn't enough percussion for you, Bowers also used loops to record and play finger snaps, hand claps, tapping on his guitar, etc. Between the two drum sets, large effects pedal set up, keyboards, and a five person band, there wasn't a ton of room on stage. The bass player was on the outer edge by the emergency exit, and one drum kit was precariously on the edge of the stage.
It was all worth it once they began playing. The audience was awash with the sounds of Kiltro, and the sold out room was mesmerized from the first note. The sounds coming from the stage were simultaneously relaxing, intense, and demanded that the listener move, even if just a little. I think my only complaint of the night is that Club Passim is a seated, dinner style venue, and Kiltro play music more suited to standing and dancing. Latin folk isn't something I would ever think should be paired with shoegaze and alt-rock, but Kiltro would prove me wrong. Passim crowds tend to be more reserved and politely applaud between songs, but on Monday night there was a thunderous and long ovation between every single song. And it was well deserved.
Chris Bowers ended the evening by playing the song "Kiltro" solo. It was just him and his guitar without any effects. Even stripped down, these are incredible songs that you simply need to see performed live.