Indie artist Kid Bloom brings life to Purgatory

Lennon Kloser, who goes by the name “Kid Bloom,” played an electric show at Purgatory at The Masquerade last week. // Photo by Sloan Salinas Student Publications

A little bit past sundown on Saturday, March 2, the doors of Purgatory at The Masquerade were opened to fans of indie artist Kid Bloom. With a capacity of roughly 300 people, Purgatory is the second smallest of The Masquerade’s performance spaces, Heaven, Hell and the new “Altar” (set to open in late March), and offers a more intimate concert experience than fans may find at most venues. 

While most shows have anywhere from two to three headliners, Sunday night only had one: rapper/singer RMR (pronounced “rumor”). Garnering nearly instantaneous fame when he dropped his first single on YouTube in February 2020, RMR quickly became known for disregarding any rules of genre. 

The single, titled “RASCAL,” is a reimagined version of Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” and was just the beginning of a career that pulls hip-hop, pop and country music together with the artist’s skilled voice and songwriting ability. From 2020 to late 2023, RMR was an anonymous artist, always wearing a ski mask and giving vague answers about his past during interviews. 

However, in November 2023, he decided to unmask for the first time. For the Atlanta concert, the singer took to the stage wearing the signature ski mask, though he took it off part of the way through his set. Throughout his time in front of the audience, RMR interacted with the crowd as much as he could, leading the room in singing “Happy Birthday” for an audience member, playing a unreleased song titled “Sweet Divorce,” before which he asked the audience if anyone had experience being happy about getting a divorce and telling the crowd that he wanted to meet “every single one of [them].” 

At 9 p.m., the moment the audience had been waiting for finally arrived: Kid Bloom walked onstage. 

Similarly to his opener, Lennon Kloser (who goes by the stage name “Kid Bloom”) blends genres to create his own unique sound. However, instead of rap and country, Kid Bloom merges elements of the psychedelic rock of the ‘70s, electronic and indie pop. Though he started releasing music in 2016, he gained a more significant following in 2020 with his EP “Blood Sugar.” This past February, he released his newest EP, “Inner Light (Phase 1),” before embarking on tour (aptly named the “Inner Light tour”). Kloser himself plays multiple instruments in addition to writing and singing, and he played guitar at the Atlanta show alongside other band members who played bass, guitar, keyboard and drums.

While many musicians don elevated or even theatrical outfits while touring, Kloser did almost the opposite, strolling onstage in baggy jeans, a plain T-shirt and a denim jacket (which he removed after playing the first song). For most of the show, a baseball cap monogrammed with the letters “IL” covered a significant portion of his face. If fans had not been there specifically to see him, they might have thought him some random guy. 

Along with his laid-back appearance, he also had a very relaxed demeanor that perfectly paired with Purgatory’s intimacy. Between songs, he joked around with the crowd, at one point asking if anyone would be willing to get him a beer (and appearing slightly surprised when an audience member actually did, not just for him but for the whole band). 

Another humorous between-song moment happened when Kloser realized his guitar was out of tune and asked someone to play a C. After unsuccessfully messing with it for a few seconds, he quickly put the drummer on the spot, announcing that he would tell jokes while the audience waited. Unprepared, the other young man resisted but ultimately reluctantly took the microphone. “There’s a reason they don’t give the drummer a microphone,” he lamented, laughing nervously, “this is a nightmare…my hands are literally shaking right now.” Lucky for him, Kloser quickly took the microphone back, encouraging the crowd to give the unwitting comedian a round of applause. 

About halfway through the set, Kloser announced that, in honor of “Inner Light (Phase 1),” they were going to play some songs from the unreleased “Phase 2,” rhetorically asking the crowd if that was “okay with them,” a question that was immediately met with cheering and applause. After two songs titled “4 the Best” and “Backseat Driver” (which he initially said was his favorite from the upcoming EP but later changed his mind in favor of a different one), there was a small interlude, during which the band played “Electric U,” Kid Bloom’s most popular song on Spotify. They finished the “unreleased portion” of the set with “Smoke In My Eyes” and “Water.” 

The second-to-last song the group played was “Different State of Mind” from their first EP by the same name. At the beginning of the song, Kloser asked the light board operator to turn off all of the stage lights, plunging the room into darkness for several lines of the song before one audience member turned on their phone flashlight; the rest of the crowd promptly followed suit to light the room with firefly-esque pinpricks. Following the display, they played one final song before thanking the crowd. Unlike many bands, Kid Bloom did not reappear for an encore. 

Overall, the night was one of humor and carefree music enjoyment. Kloser was personable and relatable, feeling much like “just another person” than many musicians, which allowed him to connect with his fans and interact with them like friends rather than people who paid to see him. 

Though initially scheduled to end on Tuesday, March 12, the Inner Light Tour will continue throughout the United States until the end of the month. There is no official date for “Inner Light (Phase 2),” but fans excitedly await its release.