The music industry in the year 2017 is a strange beast. Artists get paid chicken scratch because of the treeing services that have come to dominate the smartphone era. The Single has become seemingly much more important than the Album. Bands who slowly curate their singles and harvest a group of fans over time are the ones who seem to reap the rewards of a sustainable, successful career. In a Billboard chart saturated in Drake and Rihanna songs there is much to be desired in the broad spectrum of “Popular Music” and Popular culture. “Pop” gets a bad rep because of the high brow hipster sentiment that “popular=bad”, but mathematically, a quality consensus is hard to argue against, even if you’re voting the other way.
With all these factors its very refreshing to find a band or an artist who plays their cards correctly and achieves commercial success while maintaining their original sound. Take Kaleo for example, an Icelandic quartet cranking out hit after hit on their debut album and within a year have had their music appear on Budweiser Commercials, during the Superbowl broadcast and even opened for The Rolling Stones. Needless to say the boys have been busy. Last night their “Express” tour took hold in Boston with the Beautiful and Bluesy ZZ Ward . A match made in heaven to music lovers of all variants. Kaleo played much of their first album along with three or four new tracks (hopefully off an upcoming project) and even a hauntingly beautiful cover of Cher’s “Bang Bang”. Lead singer Jökull Júlíusson also known as JJ added some hometown flair by donning a custom Red Sox jersey as he belted out his wide vocal range. Another nod to the city actually was the touring member of the Band Thorleifur Davidsson Aka Thor is taking six months off of his studies at Berklee College of Music (full scholarship for Harmonica) to play with his Icelandic countryman.
ZZ Ward did not disappoint either playing music off all of her albums and pointing out that her Debut album “Till The Casket Drops” turned five years old. Unfortunately, I had to miss the opening band Wilder due to traffic, parking and the line of the sold out crowd for the show. But I listened to their music on the way home and I am mad I missed out. If you are in PA, CT or NY make sure you don’t miss out on the last few dates of the U.S. Tour.