There are few records I can relate to on levels of intimacy, vulnerability, and emotion. Kllo has done just that. Their newest project, Backwater, is an ode to the unrequited, the misunderstood, and overall summation of youth and growing. With Backwater being their first album, it felt right that they perform it live in Los Angeles for the first time in one of my favorite underground venues.
The Resident is tucked away in the corners of the Arts District in Los Angeles. The space inside isn’t too big but just enough to give artists a full welcome into the city. Entering from a singular gate from the courtyard, lights of red, purple, blue, and white filled the dark between the spaces.
The night was just getting started as friend and opener, GXNXVS (pronounced genius) played amazing songs- originals and remixes- from all across the board of R&B, hip-hop, and house. What was once an empty floor turned into a party. Waves of ticket-holders kept coming from the patio and started to find their places on the floor as patrons moved towards the bar to get their rhythm. After an amazing set, the crowd cheered and audience members crowded the stage as Kllo were prepping to start.
The lights dimmed as the Australian duo made their way to their synths. They started with “Downfall”, the energy-stirring first track off Backwater. The drums and bass rattled the stage as audience members were swaying and singing along,
“Careful, can’t divide you / Don’t dwell on behind / Downfall will come before it all”
Chloe smiled warmly as we kept cheering. With no hesitation, they continued onward with “Making Distractions”, my favorite track off of the new album encapsulating their brand of R&B and electronic music. Chloe whispered words of heartbreak as the snare drum and sub-bass popped back and forth,
“If this ain’t rough, how? / ‘Cause I’ve stayed up, I’m making distractions”
Kllo continued on with tracks “Dissolve” and “Not Like Them”, both with a bit more of a dark dancehall/tropical house ambiance. The tracks resonated throughout the crowd as the audience was dancing and clapping back and forth between the beats and singing. Chloe’s voice kept steady through the whispered falsetto notes as the crowd kept their ears and eyes open to the stage.
Chloe and Simon delved back into older tracks off of their Well Worn EP released just last year with tracks “Walls To Build” and “Sense”. Since seeing them open for Rufus Dü Sol last year in the city, the sound at The Wiltern did not give them justice. I’m glad they decided to play tonight and give new listeners a better venue to experience it sonically.
As the duo headed towards the end of their set, they slowed down with “Nylon”, a piano & vocally driven R&B track showing Chloe’s vocal prowess alongside Simon’s musicianship, creating a brush of silence while she sang along,
“I don’t wanna die young / I don’t wanna hold us back / No shoulder to cry on / No, I’m not ready for that”
The mood had picked up. Chloe and Simon dipped straight into “By Your Side”, a dance track with coated vocals shining through the rhythm. The audience danced and the room was shaking once again, and the group didn’t stop but went straight into “Virtue”, the hit single from Backwater. We all cheered, sang, and kept dancing. Chloe smiled brightly, as did Simon when the track played out. Even those sitting on the sides had stood up by now and fully thrown themselves into the show. Chloe gave a big thank you while her and Simon closed out with their single “Bolide” from their Well Worn EP. The audience cheered loudly as the music subsided and the lights dimmed.
We all made our way out of the bar. Patrons continued on with drinking, while I caught a silent Lyft ride home. The lights of the neighborhoods beamed. My buzz was slowly coming down, and all I could revisit in my head was the warmth I felt as the bass rushed through me. If this is Kllo’s first album, then preparations are needed when there is even greater music to come.