Kosheen - Manchester Academy 2 - 17.9.07

What difference a flight of stairs makes, eh? Just a few months back Kosheen were riding high upon rumours that their hotly anticipated third album ‘Damage’, is as dark, defiant and pulsating as the early material. This, over the years, has earned Sian Evans and crew a reputation for conjuring soaring, hook laden and bass pushed dance, drum n’ bass and pure pop moulding musical releases. On their first trip to Manchester this year, the Academy Three was a pit of expectation and there was barely enough room to swing a glow-stick, as Evans controlled the tempo, mood and adoration effortlessly and her provocative enthusiasm was infectious. Tonight, there is more than enough room to swing a glowing cat, as the more sizeable Academy Two hall seems to dwarf Waless finest. The new material including the chugging beats and hovering soul vocal mix of ‘Overkill’, has now lost its mysteriousness and it lacks their customary oomph in a live setting.

 Evans has always been able capture the attention and keep the audience fixated upon her, however two girls scrapping towards the front prevents this, as gatherers seem grateful for a temporary distraction, before the girls are whisked away, no doubt to see Jeremy Kyle to sort of their differences. Perhaps it is just belated frustration at the continuing delays in ‘Damage’ finally reaching the public domain that sparked the kerfuffle off? Material taken from first album ‘Resist’, continues to retain freshness and pounce. Evan’s voice and the ability of the band to match her lofty projection, with their at times, adventurous and brazen backing has not lost its edge, but the Monday night feel still lingerers. ‘Catch You’, as always, serves as a reminder of these tune-manipulators’ ability to revive your faith in catchy pop and their fresh way of communicating defiance. The whole band just needs to find a way to retain their new dark mystique, but not lose energy and momentum in a live setting. You wouldn’t bet against them doing that though and, maybe tonight is just a part of a range broadening transition and expectations are always higher than normal when Kosheen are in town.

David Adair

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