cero started off as deceptively simple. The lead singer started the set in about as chill a way one possibly can — by playing a flute — before they launched into the breezy “Mountain Mountain,” a laid-back number featuring all-together-now vocals and lyric basically doubling as instructions to have an easy-breezy day: “take a rest,” “eat a candy,” “smoke a cigarette.” Yet “Mountain Mountain” — and cero as a whole — proved harder to pin down as the early afternoon set played out. The song shuffled ahead, moved by bass groovin’, but featured sudden little turns and the Disney-ish sing-a-long sometimes turned into something a bit more intimidating. The flute came out again later, sure, but only after the lead singer ran a lap around the stage.
It was never a weird set, but was always a little stranger than the music implied. cero are a band who, after a few years of being a relatively straightforward indie-rock band, transformed into a group with a sudden interest in saxophone solos and hip-hop. It’s a very summery vibe, and one that works well in a festival setting, as the fittingly titled “Summer Soul” displayed early on. It’s a lazy-Sunday groover that had the crowded White Stage audience swaying along, even when samples of old TV shows and turntables being scratched came out of the speakers.
Yet as relaxed as it could get, what made it compelling was the weird edges in cero’s songs. “Summer Soul” had those sudden samples, along with a few scattered electronics. Disorienting electronic sounds were a recurring feature — one sounded like a dentist drill placed way too close to one’s ear — and added a welcome weirdness to the sunny-day vibes. cero didn’t spin off into experimental noise jams, but the added strangeness made the otherwise easy-going set something to focus on.
Photo: Yoshitaka Kogawa Text: Patrick St. Michel
Posted on 2015.7.26 14:23