Kula Shaker 16.5.06

by Jo

Norwich Waterfront

One of my favourites! Back in Norwich after too many years. Reformed, with new songs, and a new album later this year. Right at the last minute I got into a sold out gig, and it was hot and sweaty and really quite smelly right from the start. A very mixed crowed, tonight – the young, the much older, and me.

A bit of history, here. In their (previous) day, Kula Shaker were more reviled than The Darkness are today. Everyone hated them. Because they came from a pretty privileged background, people dismissed them as little rich boys who had bought their way into music. Could afford to buy whatever instruments and amps and equipment they needed. Now THAT definitely went against the grain – musicians were supposed to be on the breadline, struggling patiently against all the odds to succeed. As if that wasn’t enough, their fascination with Indian culture and mysticism left them open to all sorts of ridicule. (Actually, that was one of the things that interested me.. ) A pop song entirely based on a meditation mantra? How.. pretentious… and so on and so forth. The Darkness have their humour and self-deprecation with which to endear themselves to people with. Kula Shaker, while not dour by any means, aren’t the silly buggers that TD are (not very easy), so they had nothing that the critics would let them fall back on. So, there you are. A band, making good, different, well crafted music that people had stuck in their head, yet reviled and ridiculed. Familiar? I saw them live at the UEA, and they were so tight musically they could have snapped. At Glastonbury, they filled in at the last minute on the Pyramid stage, having already performed on the Other Stage. They gained a lot of respect for that – not necessarily for the music, but for being ready, and for their skill.

Back to the gig then. I stood through the support band, whose songs all sounded the same. Well performed, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. There were some really odd – well not odd, but unlikely – people in. Shaven heads, beerboy builder types. I was amazed when they sang along, word perfect. Just shows you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.. After a few songs, I slipped off to the front, which was surprisingly easy. A girl needs to be able to see the band she’s reviewing, and IMO, that means right at the front. I should have a spot reserved.

Sound of Drums is a great way to start. It’s quite a hypnotic song, in the way that a heartbeat is. It’s instantly recognisable, beautifully singalong, and sets out all the intentions for the night – excellence and enjoyment (apologies to any teachers reading this). The next three had a much more rocky, bluesy thing going on (I’ve handily starred the ones that appear on the new EP, below) which got the dancing going, and more singing. 303 and Shower Your Love just make you want to smile so much, DiKtator of the Free World socks politics, and it’s all just so full of energy. So much more so than I remember K being, but on stage, rock will out.. They know exactly what they’re doing and why, and their experience shows. We save a lot of our jumping about for Tattva, Hey Dude, Hush and a harder faster version of Govinda that gloriously seems to go on forever.. wallowing in a bit of nostalgia and lots of rock tunes is bloody good for you. Alleviates the pain, you know. Mr Mills jumped round the stage like a divinely inspired dervish . There’s not a lot of chat, but with this much rocking to do, who cares? The beautiful madness of mysticism and moshing raises smiles and consciousness like nothing else can. I went home, wanting more, so job done to the lads. Nice organ interlude as well.

Confession time.. have long had a little crush on Crispian. This is because when I first saw KS on the White Room back then, he was the spit of my husband when I first met him. So, I fancied someone because they look like my beloved… hee.. oh well. Better that than the other way round. He still looks pretty fine, and indeed apologised for not dressing up for us.. the capes are at the dry cleaners, apparently.

Come back soon, please. There never was anything to forgive.


Sound of Drums
Big Bad Wolf
Revenge of the King *
Die 4 Love
CB Operator
Shower Your Love
Craving Heart
108 Battles
DiKtator of the Free World *
Last Farewell
Organ Intro – 6ft Down *

Hey Dude
Hollow Man

Lots of photos etc at


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