by MythofRock

Do you remember Kula Shaker? The English psychedelic/folk alternative rock band who had big success in the late nineties, with hit singles and a great hype around its name? Kula Shaker came back in 2022 with a nice new album (“1st Congregational Church of Eternal Love and Free Hugs”) and scheduled some live shows in many countries. Myth of Rock had the unique chance to witness Kula Shaker’s live concert in Birmingham, UK. Being on a business trip in London, I bought my tickets to Birmingham and got ready for a vintage rock night at the O2 Institute, after having been at Black Sabbath’s bench and having seen Jeff Lynne’s star in the Walk of Stars… I arrived outside the venue at 7.30 pm, however, to my disappointment, not too many people were there. It’s still early, I thought … Thirty minutes later our wait was over, and we entered the club. O2 Institute is a rather small place, but, on the other hand, it’s warm and friendly for the fans. And my thoughts about the people attending, soon disappeared, because the venue got full – approximately, 1000 people were there, anxious to have fun with Kula Shaker. There would not be a support band, ehmmm, who are these five musicians with the tympani getting on stage, in front of a DJ, who played dance music? Well, there was a support band: …, who played their tympani over dance music themes, adding an Indian flavor and a folk element to the beat. This unique group is unbelievably skilled, and very communicative with the audience, which was amazed with all this … experimental pop sound! Their set wasn’t longer than half an hour, and we were already looking forward to Kula Shaker! The quartet didn’t let us wait, as they entered the stage with confidence and conviction. Indeed, they started playing passionately although they had sound problems in the very beginning. The crew fixed the minor problems and it’s shockingly true that the band played with much more focus and precision, since then! Kula Shaker played songs from all its discography, from their debut to their latest long player “1st Congregational Church …” – the sound was now clean and loud, the famous English band was cheerful and gave their everything just to please their listeners. The song selection was fine, I wanted some other songs too, e.g. “Mystical Machine Gun” and “Great Hosannah”, though. Crispian Mills was a real rock star, playing his guitar like a god and singing beautifully every hooky vocal line. And he was the undisputed leader of a well-rehearsed, hardworking, mature band, which even made changes to the song structures – a superb gift to their fans!  The keyboards were fantastic, and took us to the early seventies, the guitars were lost in an alternative heavy rock labyrinth and the rhythm section was super supportive! Kula Shaker concluded their almost two-hour set, living a triumph, as the audience applauded in standing ovation. This concert proved to be super special, since we had the good luck to see and hear Kula Shaker’s mighty come back to the modern rock scene. Hats off to Mr. Mills and his gang! And go grab the sitar, let’s practice!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

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