Music

Kula Shaker

December 5th 2016 | Norwich UEA | Gigs

Words: Phil Stewart | Photo: Phil Stewart

Post Brit-Pop rock band Kula Shaker brought their unique psychedelic sounds to Norwich UEA on Monday night, as part of their 20th anniversary tour, celebrating the original release of their debut album "K".

After excellent support from the incredibly-talented-but-bafflingly-unsigned Rudy Warman And The Heavy Weather - a self-produced folk and blues band, born from the world of busking – Kula Shaker took to the stage to begin almost two hours of classic nineties rock - and more!

Beginning the show with a brief rendition of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band”, complete with customised lyrics, Kula Shaker dominated the stage from the get-go. The audience quickly moved closer to the front as the band played their current single “Love B (with U)”, before frontman Crispian introduced the theme for the evening: time travel. Without going backwards, we were all going to travel back 20 years, to the release of the band’s debut album. To illustrate this point, a record player was promptly brought onto the stage, with an original copy of the album on vinyl. Crispian then made a big show of putting the record on, announcing with a smile that we’d all listen to the album together as the needle hit the groove…

Launching into the album’s opening track (and massive hit single) “Hey Dude” with the same energy and drive as they did two decades ago, Kula Shaker proceeded to entertain the crowd effortlessly, ending the track with Crispian exclaiming “Yeah, we’ve still got it!”

Working their way through the album track-by-track, from the masculine “Knight on the Town” to the psychedelic “Magic Theatre”, with boundless energy and a natural ease on stage, they injected their individual personalities into the lyrics of every song.  Although 20 years have passed, the band brought their unique sound into the present with Crispian joking at one point that he is still changing the lyrics even now.  

Showing a talent for comedy and ability to engage with the audience, Crispian suddenly stopped the set halfway through to literally turn the record over.  However, before starting Side B, the band performed a number of lesser known "b sides", including the George Harrison-inspired “Gokula”, demonstrating that even the tracks that didn't make the album have stood the test of time.

Continuing through the rest of “K”, including “bonus track” (and top ten hit) “Hush”, the gig incorporated an eclectic mix of enthusiastic, energetic tracks, interspersed with some gentler examples of the band’s Indian influences, seeing Crispin and Alonza kneel to play in perfect sync with each other. Indeed, there was a great rapport between Crispian and the other band members throughout the course of the evening, clearly demonstrating their strong, successful working relationship and close friendship.

After leaving the stage to rousing applause and cheers from the audience, the band returned to kick off an encore with two tracks from their current album “K2.0”: recent single “Infinite Sun" and country-tinged number “33 Crows”. Concluding the show with their best-known track, the smash hit “Govinda”, the crowd demonstrated their loyalty by singing along with the lyrics, despite them being entirely in Sanskrit.

Leaving a lasting impression for all in attendence, the gig was a hugely entertaining experience for old and new fans alike.   Here’s to the next 20 years!

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