Kula Shaker At The Academy – Review
Post britpop psychedelic darlings Kula Shaker are the latest ‘nostalgia’ band in town, bringing their eastern tinged guitar pop to the confines of Dublin’s Academy. 1996 saw the release of their debut masterpiece, K, and brought commercial success with it. Top ten singles like ‘Govinda’, ‘Hey Dude’ and ‘Hush’ kept them in the limelight and shifted half a million records, but the group seemingly disappeared in 1999. Having now regrouped and recorded K 2.0, a night eastern mysticism and indie anthems are surely in store.
Arriving to a stage laid with burning incense, the mood is suitably trippy to begin with. Finally, the group led by the ever youthful Crispian Mills saunters onstage to the crowd’s delight. ‘Sound Of Drums’ kicks off proceedings, and gets the audience grooving straight away. Their unique blend of psychedelia and digestible guitar pop is still as effective as it always was, as proven further with old classics like ‘Grateful When You’re Dead’ and ‘303’. Newer tracks stand up impressively too mind you, with ‘Infinite Sun’ dazzling everyone, most notably with Mills’ virtuosic guitar work.
As the night progresses, the frontman loosens up somewhat and really comes into his stride. While the first few tracks were by no means underwhelming, the energy now exerted is a force to be reckoned with. ‘Mystical Machine Gun’ and the timeless ‘Tatva’ raise the roof with slick guitar riffs and catchy refrains. The vocals now near perfection, the crowd are encouraged to sing back with all they have, and that they do.
The 1996 belter ‘Hush’ closes the main set, which is a quick three minute flash of utter britpop brilliance. Not a soul in the building doesn’t lose their composure for this gem of a track. Returning for a rather lengthy encore, the best is saved for last with the head-banging ‘Hey Dude’ and finally, a mammoth performance of their magnum opus track, the otherworldly ‘Govinda’. The Sanskrit sung melody is chanted back to the band like a timeless football chant, everyone now completely losing their cool.
Tonight’s visit from Kula Shaker was a very welcome one. While not quite in the limelight anymore, the band were once doing something no one else was. Their own blend of pop and eastern mysticism is akin to Sgt. Peppers era Beatles, yet still sounds so fresh. Add some indie belters in the mix and what more could you want?