Kagoule – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – 9th November 2017

Kagoule – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
Photo by Chris Middleton

This is probably around the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen Kagoule live now. I first caught the band at the 2015 Mutations Festival in Brighton which has very sadly stopped happening. I went to see them on recommendation from a friend and since then I’ve kept coming back for more. Kagoule are a band that are exciting to watch grow. Their debut album Urth was one of my favourites from 2015 and is still an album I hold dearly. They’ve been gearing up to release their follow up and have released the first single from the still unnamed album. ‘Monsieur Automaton’ is the band evolving and progressing. There’s still the same Kagoule DNA in there but it’s definitely a sign of growth.

Support comes from Catholic Action who were to no surprise excellent live. There were things that didn’t quite work for me on the debut In Memory Of which made complete sense in a live environment. Chris McCrory’s vocals are as great live as they are on record. The album gives off glam rock vibes mixed in with a modern sound. Some of this is lost live but their set tends to dwell on what’s guaranteed to smash it. When Chris McCrory does take a solo you get all these influences back again and the group really can’t refrain from harmonising their guitars. When they play B-side ‘The Flush’ it’s one of the best tracks from the set along with ‘Stars and Stripes’ which is the closer of their album. They like to have fun on stage too. During one of their songs they stop it dead, which leads to unsure applause from the crowd and, then, they hold it. A minute passes and then they tear back into the song. Catholic Action are a very promising band and one to certainly get excited about. Their album and live show are different takes on the same band and both are equally as rewarding to experience.

Kagoule come on and play a set which gives you an eye into what they’ve been working on. They’re still the same band but they’ve pushed their own borders out further and come back with something new. Live, Kagoule have always been phenomenal to watch. I’ve seen them play songs off their debut so many times now and it’s yet to stop sounding fresh. It’s even better with new sounds on the way. Their new songs sound like frontman Cai has really pushed the boat out with his guitar playing. His guitar lines are far more intricate and, as a whole, Kagoule sound very confident, not that this was lacking before. ‘Monsieur Automaton’ has a guitar line that sounds like Graham Coxon on a rampage. Songs from Urth also sound like they’ve been turned up a notch, they’re played with so much gusto behind them it reminds me of when I saw them for the very first time.

Right in the middle of ‘Adjust the Way’ the drum skin bursts open which kills the song dead. While bits of kit are scurried offstage it leaves Lucy and Cai to improvise with the crowd which leads to someone beatboxing ‘Adjust the Way’. This in turn leads to Cai just messing around with the guy and starts trying to jam around with him. It’s nothing that kills the momentum of the show, the way that Lucy and Cai handle the moment is just hilarious. The drum is then replaced, they count back in and continue as though nothing had happened and it just becomes a forgotten blip in the show.

Kagoule really are at a pivotal moment and next year will be a turning point when they release their second album. The new songs they played live are brilliant and has developed their sound more. They’ve never been strangers to Brighton and I very much look forward to catching them again throughout the new year. Their new songs are very promising and I’m very excited to hear the album as soon as I can get my hands on it. Catholic Action are at the start of a very promising journey for themselves and made tonight’s show all the more special. I’m sure everyone left tonight knowing that they saw two incredible bands laying bare their new music. Whilst I’ve been on the Kagoule band waggon for a few years now, I’ll be dipping my other foot in the waters of Catholic Action.

Chris Middleton

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