Live Review: Kosheen – The Garage, London 12.03.2022

Don Blandford

Really, all that’s missing are the glow sticks. Kosheen started the party back in 2001 and it feels like they’re still sound-tracking that noughties all-nighter. Sian Evans commands Kosheen much like Florence drives her machine but with bass heavy repetitive grooves and anthemic hooks aplenty. Pounding and intense. Like a Seat Ibiza motor has just pulled up at The Garage, doors flung open and sound system raging. Sorted.

Hedonists hooked since the first Kosheen album Resist are gathered in North London – some looking like they’ve partied very hard indeed during the intervening years. Sian herself is youthful, energetic and oh so joyous tonight – feeding on the vibrant energy bouncing around the venue. Kosheen create something of a virtual reality trick. This may be a sweaty London venue in March but for Sian and everyone else in Highbury this is actually July and a remote field somewhere in Hampshire.

Much as she breathes in the ecstatic applause throughout the eighteen strong set, Sian is humble. She recalls her roots in the music industry when she was “that little girl living in a tepee, knocking around Bristol trying to get a gig…” adding, “that was such a long time ago, but it felt like yesterday just now…but my body will tell me differently in the morning!”

The excitement is peaking…or something is kicking in. The tang of euphoria flows from Sian’s every utterance. Usual gig etiquette doesn’t apply here and fans are creeping into the pit to grab a handshake or be blessed by Sian. Enthusiastic dancing has shifted some of the stage lights. Others are taking shortcuts through the photo pit and elsewhere there’s a man having an angry tussle with security because he’s lost a ring. The couple photographing their miniature yellow rubber duck on the monitor later are the calm after the storm of drum, bass and soaring vocals.

Now it’s time for Empty Skies. The outstanding track on the dynamic Kosheen debut album. A song about which Sian says “ I’ve never really worked out what it means…it steps in where language steps out…I’m sure the pictures you have for this song are different to the ones I have….but it moves me every time I sing it…”.

There’s still more to come including the urgent, beautifully disjointed Hide U and a rousing encore featuring Catch delivered by Sian with a gospel intensity.

Then it’s time for a clearly emotional Sian and her band to take a bow – “you have thrilled me tonight. I’m taking this with me…every second, thank you!” – before her parting message “take this energy out of here because God knows the world needs it right now, take it spread it around and share it out…”.

In other words, party on!

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