Kula Shaker Make Massive Waves At London’s Legendary 100 Club

When Kula Shaker announced a very special one-off show at one of our favourite music HQs, this 100 Club hot ticket was sold out in seconds. This was testimony to a band who, despite a hiatus, are still at the forefront of British psychedelic rock.

Kula Shaker

100 Club, London – 4 September 2023

Words: Sara Harding

Photography: Aggie Anthimidou

The inspiration for this intimate show was to celebrate KS’s hotly anticipated new album and the huge success of their first single, Waves, plus a tour of the USA.

Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023.
Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

With their authentic East meets West via the Beatles vibe, the band’s debut album K became one of the biggest-selling LPs of the 90s and 25 years later, we still get to enjoy these groove-laden anthems.

Celebrating our 1,000,000 reads in 2023, we at Metaltalk were out to enjoy our huge achievement, and what a way to spend it with one of my all-time favourite music combos and a large glass of lady petrol (wine).

The queue for this sold-out gig snaked along Oxford Street, and the atmosphere at the packed 100 Club was electric. Fans I had met at the recent Shepherd’s Bush Empire were all so hyped and, like me, back again for more KS. The icing on the K cake was my friend Lewis Floyd Henry was providing support with his one-man band mash-up of Hendrix, which really got the crowd going.

Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023.
Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

As Kula Shaker steps onto the stage, Mills is right on it with his incredible guitar chops as they kick off the evening with Hey Dude, a total anthem of a song and the audience is literally singing every word and living their best life.

Mills is undoubtedly a guitar wizard, but it’s his voice and lyrics that give each song something extra. United with his original bandmates Paul Winter-Hart on drums, Alonzo Bevan on bass and Jay Darlington on keys, this band simply gel.

Their prowess on the next song, Sounds Of The Drums, delivers at all levels with Paul’s deep groove drum beats, Bevan’s glorious rumbling bass lines and the truly sublime and very authentic vintage keys from Jay. And then there’s Mills with insane guitar riffs made even more magic with his prowess on the pedal.

Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023.
Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

It’s back to the future with their recent hit song Gaslighting as Crispian thanks us for “Coming to our soiree. We are going to play some old classics and the new”.

Infinite Sun is next from the 2016 album K2.0 and, again, is a lesson in how world music and rock blend. For me, this is one of those songs that should feature on a movie soundtrack.

Now it’s time for their brand new single. As I worked at MTV for years, videos were so important for songs I have to say I checked out Waves on their YouTube channel. It’s a frikkin fantastic watch to accompany what is definitely going to become an anthem – retro but again with that modern twist. Often, the new songs don’t shine on stage, but this delivers both lyrically and audibly.

Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023.
Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

As the wah-wah pedals kick in and Mills is on the floor going crazy with his guitar, it’s time for Grateful When You’re Dead. Written in a matter of moments when Crispian felt the vibe of the late, great Jerry Garcia in a recording studio, this is two songs for the price of one as Grateful merges into the mega studio jam Jerry Was There. This is literally the best music rush you can get. It’s got everything – melody, magic and a crescendo like no other.

Natural Magick is next on the setlist as Mills says, “This chapter in the band’s life is very much driven by live energy and that spiritual connection with the audiences which comes with it.” Words that came true tonight.

Then it’s time for another KS deep cut with 2 Styx, an upbeat blast from the past with this live music trip through the band’s incredible back catalogue. Narayan follows and again is that unique hybrid of rock and world music. The pulsating crowd are clearly loving every minute of this very hot and very packed gig.

Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023.
Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

303, a song written about the best road in Britain which takes us to Stonehenge and Glasters, really shows Mills’ prowess on the rock geeeeeetar. With his hair shaking and kneeling on the floor with his pedals, the energy coming from this band is insane.

As we hear the loop for Tattva with that Eastern vibe, we know it’s time for another KS classic. It’s absolutely boiling in this 100 Club, but the gig goes up another notch. The truly awesome Johnny Kalsi from the Dohl Foundation comes on with his drum and brings us his huge talent (BTW Johnny was standing next to me for the rest of the gig and clearly enjoying Kula Shaker’s performance with us lot) testament to the gig we are witnessing.

Hush follows with the foot stomping four piece all in complete harmony and celebrating the best of Purple, and then it’s encore time.

Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023.
Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

As the band re-emerge on stage, Crispian says, “Thank you all for coming. As it’s an Indian summer, here’s a newer song for you.” They blast into a new song Indian Record Player, which is very apt as one of my besties at Record Collector Magazine is right next to me. It’s another catchy number packed with Kula Shaker DNA.

Up next is another banger – the very Beatlesy Into The Deep, which features one of my favourite Mills guitar solos. And then begins the magical crescendo into Govinda.

Kalsi is back on stage to deliver his unique drums, giving this epic tune yet another dimension. Everyone is dancing, chanting and singing along.

Kula Shaker are the real deal. Incredible performers and songwriters. People and friends in the USA, you are in for a real trip and a real treat. Can anyone buy me a plane ticket so I can witness this gig once again?

We are all looking forward to the next album, which promises to drop after Christmas, so watch this space.

Absolutely far out.

Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023.
Kula Shaker, 100 Club. 4 September 2023. Photo: Aggie Anthimidou/MetalTalk

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