WORDS AND IMAGES BY DESH KAPUR
It was the Albert Hall Manchester tonight to check out Kula Shaker, I have to be honest here and say I only know one album, “K” and I love it, it’s part of my record collection and still gets played, I was pretty surprised to find out that, in fact, they have quite a back catalogue.
Kula Shaker is an English psychedelic rock band. Led by frontman Crispian Mills, the band made their name during the post-Britpop era of the late 1990s. The band enjoyed success in the UK between 1996 and 1999, notching up many Top 10 hits on the UK Singles Chart, including “Tattva”, “Hey Dude”, “Govinda”, “Hush”, and “Sound of Drums”. The band’s debut album, K, reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart.
The band are known for their interest in traditional Indian music, culture, and mysticism, with a number of their most famous songs, including “Tattva” and “Govinda”, featuring lyrics written in Sanskrit. The name Kula Shaker was itself inspired by King Kulasekhara, an Indian king from the 9th century. In addition, many of the band’s songs feature traditional Indian instruments, such as the sitar, tamboura, and tabla, mixed with guitar-driven indie rock.
They disbanded in September 1999 and reformed in 2004 for the “School of Braja” compilation album. This led to plans for a full comeback, although the reformation was not widely publicised until the beginning of 2006. The band’s third album, “Strangefolk”, was issued in 2007 and their fourth, “Pilgrims Progress”, was released in 2010. The band returned with a mostly sold-out European tour and new album “K 2.0” in 2016 and then following a six-year hiatus, Kula Shaker returned with their sixth album, “1st Congregational Church Of Eternal Love And Free Hugs”, which has fuelled excitement amongst fans to see the band live once more. So here we are….
The lights drop low, and the band take to the stage and launch into “Hey Dude” one of their biggest hits and the room bursts into life. With a shout-out to Manchester, they move straight into “Sound of Drums” and “Infinite Sun”.
The tambourine-shaped backdrop behind them is constantly swirling with psychedelic imagery as the band keep the tempo high with “Whatever it is, I’m against it”. Crispian Mills respendent in black jeans and gold sparkling jacket, shaking his blonde mop-top from side to side and bouncing around the stage.
As the songs keep coming, the atmosphere in the venue, even though they weren’t going off, there was a huge feel-good happy vibe, with people singing at the top of their voices and swaying along to the songs they love. The biggest cheers of the night being for the big hitters like “Hush”, “Grateful When You’re Dead”, “Tattva” and “Govinda”.
So, after the obligatory encore, it’s all over and nostalgia seems to have reigned supreme tonight. I enjoyed Kula Shaker and loved hearing those tunes that have been the soundtrack to those seemingly endless summers in the nineties.
1/ HET DUDE
2/ SOUND OF DRUMS
3/ INFINITE SUN
4/ WHATEVER IT IS (I’M AGAINST IT)
6/ LVE SEPERATION
7/ GRATEFUL WHEN YOUR DEAD / JERRY WAS THERE
8/ GINGERBREAD MAN
9/ FAREWELL BEAUTIFUL DREAMER
10/ SHOWER YOUR LOVE
11/ SONG OF LOVE / NARAYANA
12/ THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING
15/ HUSH ENCORE
16/ KNIGHT ON THE TOWN
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My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.