Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Kula Shaker - Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow, 4 October 2007

With impeccable timing, I became a Kula Shaker fan a matter of a couple of months before the band broke up, a trick I also achieved with the Boo Radleys. So when I noticed that they had reformed and were touring I was very pleased indeed. I had no idea of what to expect from them live: did they tour with half a sub-continent of shehnai players, or would they have turned their backs on the old material in favour of stuff from the new album?

In the event, they entered in the wake of a video collage of the flogging scene from If, nuclear tests and Wicked Witch of the West, with Crispian Mills dressed in tails in homage to the If schoolboys. There were just four of them, and as well as doing several new songs they threw themselves enthusiastically into a lot of the old stuff. They opened up with Hey Dude, and followed it with Jerry Was There and a performance of Shower Your Love which took on a whole new aspect from being shorn of all its Indian musical trappings. They worked extremely hard, and had the audience eating out of their hands pretty much from the beginning. I had wondered whether their following would turn out to be mostly ageing hippies of my generation, but they clearly have a young audience as well, and the largely student crowd at QMU responded joyfully. I hadn't heard Kula Shaker cover Deep Purple's Hush before, but clearly most of the audience had (I gather they do it on the soundtrack of I Know What You Did Last Summer) and went wild. Other songs I recognised were Tattva, Into The Deep, and a final segue from Great Hosanna into Govinda in which they were lustily joined by the audience. They came back to do a belting Sound Of Drums before running up against QMU's fairly rigid closedown time and having to finish.

Mention must be made of the two supports. Firstly we had Ivyrise who were well worth turning up early enough to see; then the amazing Dr Joel, who would have been worth going to see all by himself. One of the reviews on his Myspace site describes him as the "Ivor Cutler of the subcontinent", which captures part of his charm exactly, though it misses his vocal percussion skill and the sheer good humour of the man. I shall look out for him in future.

Thinking of oddball solo performers with quirky lyrics suddenly had me trying to imagine a collaboration between Dr Joel and Thomas Truax. I think they might be rather a good fit, actually, and I'd pay serious money to see it. If you're reading this, guys, think about it, OK?

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