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Kula Shaker - Roundhouse, London, 16/2/2016

  by Tom Fogarty

published: 10 / 4 / 2016

Kula Shaker - Roundhouse, London, 16/2/2016


It's been twenty years since Kula Shaker first rose to fame. They may not make the charts anymore, but Tom Fogarty at the Roundhouse in London finds that their following is still devoted

With a waft of incense and burst of psychedelic guitar, Kula Shaker take to the stage in front of a full house. The crowd goes wild. You might be forgiven for thinking this is 1996 when the band regularly graced the charts, but this is 20 years later, and Kula Shaker are on their fifth studio album: 'K 2.0'. Best known for their debut, the multi-platinum selling 'K', the band have had lengthy absences between releases, but they remain as endearing as ever to their loyal fans. Despite having a new album to flog, tonight’s show is more of a greatest hits event, with a few new tracks and a couple of covers thrown in for good measure. Old favourites such as 'Hush', 'Hey Dude' and 'Tattva' sit alongside new numbers from their latest album, skipping over much of the more sedately paced 'Strangefolk' and 'Pilgrims Progress'. Other firm crowd-pleasers include 'Sound of Drums', '303' and of course, 'Grateful When You’re Dead'. Remarkably, lead singer Crispian Mills does not appear to have aged at all. A mere fifteen years old at the height of the band’s success in 1996. Today I clearly look my 35 years. Mills, on the other hand, appears much the same, despite being in his mid-40s. Perhaps he's found the elixir of youth, or maybe there is something to Mills' new age mysticism after all. It’s hard to see why Kula Shaker have been on the outskirts for so long, and have never really recaptured their glory days ('K' was one of the fastest-selling UK debuts of all time). Perhaps it is because their pseudo-hippie musings confuse people, or maybe it is because their reputation will always be tarnished in some people’s eyes because of some misjudged and controversial comments made to the music press that originally led to the band’s downfall all those years ago. Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter here. The band plays in earnest tonight and the excited audience certainly take it in the right spirit and a boisterous evening is had by all. The gig is lots of fun and, although this may not be groundbreaking stuff, Kula Shaker make incredibly infectious rock and roll, and they do it very well indeed. If they never recapture the zeitgeist they embodied during their heyday in the Britpop era nearly 20 years ago, as long as they can put on a show like tonight and sell out the Roundhouse on a modest but successful tour, I’ll be a happy fan. Photos by Billy Seagrave www.seagravesocialphotography.com

Also at Roundhouse, London

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Kula Shaker - Roundhouse, London, 16/2/2016

Kula Shaker - Roundhouse, London, 16/2/2016

Kula Shaker - Roundhouse, London, 16/2/2016

Kula Shaker - Roundhouse, London, 16/2/2016

Kula Shaker - Roundhouse, London, 16/2/2016

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