Friday April 10th, 2015 was a great night for music lovers in Philadelphia. Fans lined the sidewalks outside Union Transfer waiting to see Venice Beach CA based Electro-Soul duo KANEHOLLER. This was KANEHOLLER’s first performance in Philadelphia and the audience made it clear they were excited.
Union Transfer was nearly filled by the time Chelsea Tyler and Jon Foster were ready to take the stage. While KANEHOLLER was the opener for the night, they brought a tremendous following with them and it wasn’t long before any first time listeners in the crowd discovered why KANEHOLLER was so special.
It’s the pleasantly unique combination of dance beats and soulful riffs that make KANEHOLLER a fantastic band to see live. While listeners can enjoy the recordings on the three EP’s they’ve released throughout 2014 – 2015, it’s hearing and feeling the dynamic transitions during the set in a live venue that creates such a fun and memorable experience.
Essentially the three EP’s (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3) released over the course of about 7 months represent a musical evolution. When KANEHOLLERS’s EP’s are listened to in succession, the music takes on a brilliant transformation. The journey starts off with a whimsical combination of soft vocals and a heavy piano intro in “Someone New” on Vol. 1, and then gradually turns into a powerful electro pop/dance sound with tracks like “Paper Games” on Vol 3. During a live performance, fans get a small taste of everything.
The night opened with a cover of “Sinnerman,” originally by Nina Simone. It was an eerie start to the show as the fog rolled off the stage and into the crowd with the venue almost entirely in darkness. Chelsea Tyler and Jon Foster emerged as a pair of silhouettes and took their spots on stage with only a few red lights dimly illuminating the room. Chelsea started with her melodic vocals and when combined with the lighting and the fog, the whole scene could only be described as haunting.
Their version of Sinnerman has a slower tempo with atmospheric background effects and breathy vocals that all worked together to give the audience goosebumps. It was a stunning opener and a great way to transition into a song from Vol. 1 – “Someone New.”
The heavy piano tracks and smooth vocals in “Someone New” paired fantastically with their version of “Sinnerman.” Much like how KANEHOLLER’s music evolves through their EP’s, the same can be seen with their stage presence.
The lighting became more prominent after they transferred into their first original song, but their stance and mannerisms were still conservative at first. They both took turns huddled over the mixing station and Chelsea stretched to reach both the mic and to keep the effects going during Jon’s transitions to the electronic drums. They both seemed anchored to their stage placement at the beginning, but by the time “Killer” was played Chelsea found her opportunity to break away and bring her energy front and center.
The set continued heating up as they went into a series of songs from Vol. 3. Jon Foster had his moment at center stage for one of KANEHOLLER’s most powerful electronic/dance songs “Paper Games.” During that moment there wasn’t a stagnant audience member in the venue. Based on the crowd’s reaction, the back to back performance of “Paper Games” and “Undertow” was easily the climax of the show. Things slowed down a bit with “Careless,” but it was a good setup for their last song.
“A.S.N.Y.” was used as a solid closer and is probably one of KANEHOLLER’s most well-rounded songs. It has a solid dance beat, a soothing melody, and great vocal pacing. As the set came to a close the crowd’s reaction was clearly positive. This may have been KANEHOLLER’s first visit to Philadelphia, but fans are hopeful that it won’t be their last.
Visit KANEHOLLER’s website to check out tour dates near you!
KANEHOLLER Set List:
- Sinnerman (Cover)
- Someone New (Vol. 1)
- Choked (Vol. 2)
- Killer (Vol .2)
- Undertow (Vol. 3)
- Paper Games (Vol. 3)
- Evermore (Vol. 3)
- Careless (Vol. 2)
- A.S.N.Y. (Vol. 2)