On the last Monday of fall quarter, soft rock band Family of the Year and Icelandic indie rock band Kaleo made an appearance at UCSD’s The Loft.
With their song “Hero” gaining immense popularity from its debut in the ambitious film Boyhood, Family of the Year is an up-and-coming band sure to excite fans of music groups like Phoenix and Local Natives. Formed in 2009 in Los Angeles, they have set a name for themselves with their self-titled third album. Their appearance at The Loft brought a relatively big crowd as they anticipated the soft rock vibes, catchy melodies, and comforting lyrics associated with their music.
Though not as well known, Kaleo excited the audience with their soulful vibes, killer guitar solos, and powerful bridges. Their performance slowly escalated as their songs both grew louder and more lyrically intense. Starting off with the slow, but soulfully seductive tune “Broken Bones,” Kaleo captivated the audience with a striking guitar solo and the memorable repeated lines, “The devil’s gonna make me a free man / The devil’s gonna set me free.”
Initially, the raw guitar solos and bluesy vibe of many of Kaleo’s songs resembled that of The Black Keys in their early years. However, their final song, “All The Pretty Girls,” which is also their most well-known, falls more under the indie category of music, with appearances of acoustic guitar, tambourine, and falsetto singing.
Once Family of the Year hit the stage, the audience had grown significantly larger. Family of the Year was able to keep everyone’s spirits up with their folksy and lyrically lighthearted tunes. In between tracks, lead vocalist Joseph Keefe and keyboardist Christina Schroeter playfully engaged in conversation with the audience, making their performance much more casual and intimate.
Family of the Year’s tunes “St. Croix” and “Carry Me” sent feel-good vibes throughout the whole venue with pop guitar chords, simple melodies, and male/female harmonies. The catchy beat “Make You Mine” had the audience longing for a summer vacation, as Keefe sings “All the boys and the all the pretty girls / Summertime, I’m gonna make you mine / And all the fun to shine on everyone / Summertime, I’m gonna make you mine.”
Two members of the quartet, Joseph and Sebastian, who are brothers, were asked by their mother to play their most famous tune, “Hero.” After almost every song they played, she would scream out, “Play ‘Hero’!” — to which Joseph jokingly replied, “Okay, Mom, gosh.”
Family of the Year finally did as they were told, ending with the ode dedicated to all underdogs, “Hero.” This final song brought the crowd together, who swayed and sung along to the beautifully innocent piece.
Both Kaleo and Family of the Year impressed their audience with not only soulful music accompanied with profound lyrics, but also their down-to-earth nature and witty personalities. These two bands will make their way up through California, Washington, and eventually Canada, in order to share their talents with the world.