KULA SHAKER, Rudy Warman And The Heavy Weather @Institute, Birmingham 12/12/16


Oh, K. Kula Shaker celebrate their birthday 

Mystical, folky blues. Is it a thing? Yeah. Now, it is anyway. There’s no better way to describe Rudy Warman and The Heavy Weather. From Folkestone, they being with them a sound like no one else. There is a real class about songs like “Air” and “Supertramp” which when mixed with the feel that they might have just pitched up here on their way back from Glastonbury, that makes – rather like Exile on Main St era Stones’ – Heavy Weather anything but. Shimmering and summery, this is music for a hammock on a cloudless day. This chilled out, blissed out vibe is rather exemplified by their closing number “Gazelle” a gorgeous strum of a thing dedicated to the children of war, this is peace and love, and needs your understanding.

On another sign we are none of us – as my Nan used to say – getting any younger, Kula Shaker have a birthday to celebrate. “K” their wonderful debut album is 20 years old. That record was probably the first experience any of us glam obsessed kids had of anything psychedelic (its a fair shout that as a 21 year old listening to Warrant and Poison there wasn’t much Eastern mysticism) and it has held up incredibly well to scrutiny here.

Not least because Kula Shaker are too experienced and too savvy to play it all straight through. Instead there’s a cover of “St Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and the new single “Let Love B (With U)” before we even get to the nostalgia part. And that nostalgia for this record is well placed as “Hey Dude”, “Temple Of Everlasting Light” and the wonderfully organ driven “Under The Hammer” come and go in a blur.

There’s a break for a bit of a palette cleanser of some B-sides (“Gokula” in particular impressive) before things get trippy with   “Tattva” and “Grateful When Your Dead/Jerry Was Here”, “303” rocks out and “Hush” is a fine example of just what happens when a fine song is well played.

“K” (nearly) done, there’s a lengthy encore, and “33 Crows” is countryfied and brilliant and “Infinite Sun” is as widescreen as you’d want it, before that final special “K” tune and “Govinda” envelopes us all in its trance-like state.

An evening that proves what everyone that is now of a…..”certain age”….always knew. Crispin Mills and the boys were always apart from their Brit Rock, TFI dwelling contemporaries and they were doing something truly fresh. Even two decades later it sounds that way, and Kula Shaker are well, just cool.

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