Kawala review: ‘A bunch of lads intent on having a great time’
- Credit: Paul Jones
KAWALA are a band I discovered at a festival in Newcastle earlier in the year and have listened to regularly since.
They consist of Jim Higson on joint lead vocals, Daniel McCarthy on joint lead vocals and guitar, Ben Batten on drums, Reeve Coulson on bass ("Reeve on bass, Reeve on bass"!!), and Dan Lee on guitar. I was pretty pleased to see they were finishing their first ever headlining UK tour upstairs at my favourite venue, The Waterfront in Norwich this Thursday evening.
Their sound is a wonderful mixture of folk, indie, pop and afrobeat, dominated by the excellent vocal harmonisation between Daniel and Jim. Their voices perfectly compliment each others as they work through a set list of upbeat, bouncy numbers, and more acoustic, intimate songs.
They kicked off with one of their original releases 'Funky' to get the crowd moving straight away, before moving into 'Play it Right' and 'Wash Away the Wild'. I had told my gorgeous girlfriend she'd love these guys, and by the end of these three songs she was already searching for KAWALA on Spotify.
Throughout the hour long set the two front men interacted with each other and the crowd with good natured banter. A bunch of lads intent on having a great time, with even the tour manager getting involved at one point. When they moved down a few gears into their slower numbers such as 'Mighty River' the crowd slowed down with them, simply enjoying the beautifully crafted songs. Jim joked at one stage that they can't leave a venue without making at least one person cry.
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Like the pros they already are they ended their set with their two most well known songs, 'Moonlight' and 'Do it Like You Do', (both are fantastic and you need to check them out). By this point the crowd were in full bounce-mode, with even myself and Helen busting some moves at the back.
The fact that KAWALA played the main stage at Reading and Leeds Festival earlier in the year is testament to their quality, and shows a rapid rise through the ranks. They certainly deserve all the plaudits they receive, due to the quality of their sound as a whole, and their brilliant performances.
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Support came from the decent Sun Silva fronted by the scarily young looking Oscar Gormley (or maybe I'm just getting older!). They also looked like they were having a great time, I'm assuming on their first ever tour as a band.
Incidentally, I'm told the name 'KAWALA' comes from a Filipino word for loose and unbound, signifying the bands creative freedom!