Four years between albums and slipping out of public consciousness, Kosheen burst back into the UK live music scene with a show including their classic drum and bass infused hits with material from new release Damage. It was a case of gone but never forgotten as the old songs were greeted with the same vigour which made them dancefloor favourites while the fresh tracks exposed a dark, brooding and atmospheric direction for the band.
A much-needed reminder of how Kosheen can unite a dancefloor.
Koko is an ideal venue for a band to re-announce themselves, with its multi-layered balconies and dramatic red walls providing grand surroundings. When singer Sian Evans stepped out on stage along with rhythm masters Decoder and Substance, the production duo who provide Kosheen with the glossy dance backing to Evan’s imposing voice, they must have been hoping to hit the ground running. Launching into “Damage”, and exposing their new style, was a bold move and they followed it up with two more tracks from their third album: initial single “Overkill” and “Like a Book”. These more danceable songs got the energy pumping through Koko, helped by a live drummer and Substance on guitar to accompany Decoder and a fellow keyboardist. Sian was in the mood to move and was quickly parading around the stage as one of only two songs from second album Kokopelli made an appearance in the form of “Avalanche”.
With the crowd hotly anticipating the Resist classics, Kosheen treated us to “Slip and Slide (Suicide)”, “Empty Skies”, “Hide U” and “Hungry”, whipping up a storm with the drum and bass that made them famous in 2001. When they returned to more offerings from Damage, Sian was all smiles, delighted that the new was being met with the same enthusiasm as the well-worn old. Although the latest album can sound too downbeat on a stereo, the band’s cherry picking of the best tracks for gigs and injecting them with the extra something that always comes from live performances enables you to hear them as they should be heard. In this environment, you can’t fail to get caught up in their encompassing sound. Returning for a blazing encore of “All In My Head” and “Catch”, this was a much-needed reminder of how Kosheen can unite a dancefloor. Let’s hope they will be keeping their heads above water for the foreseeable future to give others the chance to see them in action.