Kaleo + Moscow Apartment @ MTelus

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The term rockstar gets tossed around too casually these days but last night at the Mtelus I got to witness a real one, up close and it was magnificent.

From the magical country of Iceland, known as the land of fire and ice, for its active volcanoes and glaciers, Kaleo ruled the stage with some serious Norse God energy.

Moscow Apartment

I’m so glad that I made it in time for the supporting act Moscow Apartment.   The Toronto-based band warmed up the crowd with their sweet harmonies and soothing vibe.  Confessing that this was one of the largest audiences that they’ve ever played for, their gratitude and sincerity were felt by all who were pleasantly surprised by their feel-good indie rock sound.


Kaleo frontman JJ exuded an array of raw emotions with his ridiculously wide vocal range.  Opening their set with “Break My Baby”, he stood very still as his voice slowly resonated across the venue.  From his delicious growl to in his taunting falsetto, he wasted no time hypnotizing the crowd and holding our complete attention for the rest of the night.  

When he continued with “Broken Bones”, he didn’t even have to ask as every single audience member immediately clapped along (and sang the lyrics.)

With his perfectly chiselled face and super-stylish vibe, JJ’s stage presence was as visually pleasing as it was aurally transcendent.  In other words, daaaaang this pretty boy sure can sing.  

 I’ve never brought earplugs to a show before and I wish that I had. Not because of the band but because of the audience. I can’t recall hearing women in such a large group howl at this frequency ever before.  I also experienced another new and cool phenomenon for the first time.  There were six photographers in the pit and they were all women.

Whether Kaleo was performing soft acoustic ballads or hard-hitting rock jams, they nailed every single song with an intensity and honesty that exceeded my expectations.

The fact that they performed Vori Vaglaskogi in Icelandic which no one really understood but quietly appreciated, was a testament to their ability to break the barriers of language and communicate based solely on their musicality.

From Mosfellsbær to Nashville,  Kaleo has created an extraordinary sound which made it a very special evening for a lot of people who haven’t been to a live performance in quite a while.

My favourite moment was when JJ asked us if we wanted to get groovy and did a very fun version of “Hey Gringo”.  His backup singers stole the show as they danced across the stage with their infectious energy.

It felt so good to cut loose and forget about Covid, where I felt that the only chemical substances being released in the air that night were pheromones. 

They closed the show with “No Good” to remind us that they hail from Vikings and they didn’t come to play, they came to conquer.

“You can’t fight the temptation 

When you get the vibration 

It won’t do you no good”

Set list 

  1. Break My Baby 
  2. Broken Bones 
  3. I Can’t Go On Without Your 
  4. Vori Vaglaskogi 
  5. All The Pretty Girls
  6. Automobile 
  7. Backbone 
  8. Hey Gringo
  9. Alter Ego 
  10. Hot Blood 
  11. Brother Run Fast 
  12. I Walk On Water 
  13. Skinny 
  14. Way Down We Go
  15. No Good 

Review – Annette Aghazarian 

Photos – Mell Martella

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