Live Review: Kula Shaker [O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London] December 8, 2022

By Polly Swann
By December 9, 2022 Live, Reviews

Shepherd’s Bush Empire was packed on 8th December to see this anticipated show by psychedelic rock pioneers Kula Shaker.

Coming off the back of a year of touring promoting their concept album ‘1st Congregational Church of Eternal Love (and free hugs)’, this was a night filled with hits and new material.

Bhangra group The Dhol Foundation got the audience dancing from the off. Johnny Kali (he of Afro-Celt Sound System), along with two other drummers and a DJ gave us half an hour of beats fusing traditional rhythms and hip-hop. The crowd’s reaction to Kula Shaker’s entrance at 9.00 almost lifted the roof of the Empire. The projected backdrop of Indian-inspired, psychedelic kaleidoscopic images set the scene perfectly.

Crispin Mills is a charismatic frontman, and his guitar playing is second to none. By the time the four-piece hit ‘Infinite Sun’ with its Bowie-esque chorus  (“Everything she touches ch-changes”) they were on a roll and the crowd was loving it.

The hits, and new material, kept coming until they were joined on stage by the Dhol Foundation to mark 42 years since the death of John Lennon, with a rousing version of ‘Twist and Shout’.

We were, of course, treated to their version of Billy Joe Royal’s “Hush” and their breakthrough hit “Govinda”, sung in Sanskrit and reminding us (as if we needed it) of their influences.

The tour rolls on across the UK early next year, and then to the US.

Make sure you catch them. This is a band at the top of their game.