One of my “pro” reviews. Clearly I am pretending that I write for the NME:
When seminal Britpop band, Blur made their 2009, it was only a matter of time before a slew of 90’s bands with fans still young enough to go to gigs started to crawl out of the woodwork, hungry for to capitulate on their former success. So far we’ve seen Suede and Reef sell-out reunion gigs and Bush hot on their heels promising new material. I’m not one to complain as an expat with a long love affair with British music, I didn’t get to see a lot of my favourite bands the first time around and it’s hard to resist the car-crash fascination of whether they’ll still be as good on round two. And really there is a lot to be said for going away and growing-up… after all look at what happened to Oasis.
Last night it was the turn of mystical rockers, Kula Shaker, famed not only for their flirtations with Eastern rhythms but also for their oh-so-posh front man, Crispin Mills’ occasional bizarre comments about Swastikas.
Unsurprisingly the sauna-like Relentless Garage is backed with ageing hippies and several bemused teenagers who have been dragged along by their parents. It’s a die-hard crowd since the tickets were the product of a fan-club competition and although we are all so hot that the sweat is sliding off the walls, Kula Shaker come out looking crisply cool, as if they’ve been beamed in straight from the 90’s… or is the 60’s since there’s a distinctive air of Sergeant Pepper in their outfits… either way no one appears to have aged.
Mills is instantly charming and the band’s energy is infectious. I don’t find myself quite in the throes of an apparent religious experience like the gentleman next to me but it’s easy to bounce along to old and new songs alike. We are treated to a series “of badly rehearsed” songs from the new album, Pilgrim’s Progress. One of which Mills claims to have forgotten the words to. The Eastern influences seem to have melted out in the new material but it still has that slightly trippy 60’s element and is sufficiently folky that you can imagine it providing the perfect soundtrack to a hazy summer BBQ. By the time they close with Govinda, the audience is drowning out the band, Mills is waving his arms around like a swami and the corpulent middle aged man next to me has gone into a state of existential ecstasy.
Whether Kula Shaker will inspire a legion of new fans is up for debate but I leave feeling like the old fan in me has been awakened and eager to add Pilgrims’s Progress to my summer soundtrack.