First up tonight is The Dhol Foundation, a musical group who were founded by Johnny Kalsi and offer a blend of electronic music, dance beats with a traditional bhangra style pulse at its heart. Their music has been featured in Hollywood films such as The Gangs Of New York and The Incredible Hulk and they opened the Commonwealth games in Melbourne in 2006. Ive seen Johnny in other bands such as The Afro Celt Sound System and Transglobal Underground but this was the first time witnessing TDF. This evening’s thirty minute set had Johnny with two fellow drummers, pounding out a hypnotic beat while dancing and singing. It was a wonderfully energetic performance which had this engaged crowd dancing and waving arms in the air to their captivating rhythms.

Kula Shaker for me are both delightfully intriguing and beguiling. I first saw them at the Phoenix Festival near Stratford-On -Avon in July 1996 just before they released their debut album `K`. They played in my home town Birmingham the following year with Ravi Shankar as part of India and Pakistan’s Golden Jubilee celebration.

I managed to see them in Brum again in 2016 as part of their 20th year celebration of the release of `K` so its been high time that I managed to catch them again.

Their latest album `Natural Magick` is a real return to form and tonight around a third of the set contained tracks from said release. The part spoken `Gaslighting` leads us in and puts me in mind of the late Gil Scott Heron and his track `The Revolution Will Not Be Televised`. The delightfully almost rapped `Hey Dude` with it’s wah wah riffs and enveloping Hammond organ follows before the trippy `Waves`, key led `Natural Magick, retro tinged `Chura Liya (You Stole My Heart)` with I think it was Alanould Gigante guesting and `Indian Record Player` a sixties tinged tribute to singers such as Asha Parekh rings out.

There a blend of the old and new as this eighty minute extravaganza continues with favourites of mine such as the mesmerising `Infinite Sun`, `Grateful When Your Dead ` which flows into `Jerry Was There` which takes us on a psychedelic trip where you feel like Jim Morrison is guiding us on a boat to meet Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. These numbers meld wonderfully with newer tracks like `idon`twannapaymy taxes` which had for me a kind of Page/Plant vibe going on and the anti war `F-Bombs`. The show closes out with `Tattva` which sent this frantic crowd wild and a cover of Joe South`s `Hush` which always gives Deep Purple`s version a run for it`s money.

The quartet of Crispian Mills, Alonza Bevan, Jay Darlington and Paul Winterhart are encouraged to return and do so to share the thoughtful and dreamy` Great Hosanna`, the almost spiritual `Govinda` before leaving us with a stunning version of Deee-Lite`s early nineties classic `Groove Is In The Heart`.

I have to say I was really blown away by how good this performance was and have to say eight years is far too long without a bit of live Kula in your life. The set was well thought out and presented with a little bit of old and new to sate all tastes, along with complimenting background slides and accompanying lighting. The band have another eight shows in the UK before they trek off to Europe so don’t delay, get along and let these musicians add a little music and mysticism into your life.

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