Kagoule – The Prince Albert, Brighton – 8th November 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

It’s testament to Brighton’s love for Nottingham three-piece Kagoule that when bassist Lucy Hatter cheekily asked for someone to buy her a beer, five minutes later she had one in her hand. “Works every time”, Hatter responded with her tongue firmly in her cheek. There’s always been a rapport between Brighton and Kagoule and their gig at The Prince Albert, fresh from the release of their second record, Strange Entertainment, will go down as a roaring success – both for the band and the tightly packed Prince Albert audience.

It goes without saying that the release of Strange Entertainment – which we said “Carries a much more elegant flow with a polished sheen that wasn’t there back in 2015” – has seen a whole new side to Kagoule mentally. Signed to a new label (AlcoPop! Records), and in a much better headspace, it’s clear that the band are back to doing what they do best: making spiky and noisy grunge-meets-post-punk and delivering it with a smile. Frankly, it’s a joy to watch and thankfully the band kept it together to wow audiences with this new phase.

Support on the night came from Guru, who are gearing up for a single release (‘Consumer Helpline’) and a mini-tour. The band are an atmospheric prospect, continually making the mood darker and darker with every note. Most of this comes from frontman Tom Cherrill who, throughout, resembles a caged tiger moving angrily from side to side of The Prince Albert’s tiny stage. As if he’s soaking up the band’s music and releasing it in a furore, he’s a captivating presence throughout. Musically, too, they’re a very impressive prospect. Single ‘Medicine Man’ is a brooding beast, propped up by a mesmerising bassline and wild distorted guitars before its tantalising wall-of-sound finale. At this point in time, Guru could be Brighton’s best kept secret and it won’t be long before the whole country is hooked on their self-proclaimed “Psychedelic-doom-nü-pop”.

The stage was set, then, for Kagoule’s return to the city and there was excitement in the air. There’s no denying that the Urth cuts went down better on the night – probably due to Strange Entertainment’s infancy – so an early showcasing of 2015 single ‘Glue’ went down incredibly well with the excitable audience. It’s here where Kagoule show just how good a live band they are. As a trio, it’s immensely impressive just how much noise they can conjure up and how exquisitely tight they sound doing so. As a band in their fourth year together, the instant chemistry is clearly something that comes naturally to the three-piece. From Lucy Hatter’s tour-de-force basslines, Cai Burns’ brooding delivery, and Lawrence English’s ferociously refined drumming, Kagoule are a band that get better with age.

That’s not to say that the Strange Entertainment tracks aren’t a hit with the crowd, either, as the likes of ‘Bad Saliva’ and ‘Egg Hunt’ are both brilliantly positioned and generate a different side to the band. Stuttered, and perfectly measured, it’s a slightly lighter side to the band but as they reach their choruses they still pack the distorted energy of Urth-era Kagoule. This was an excellent showcase of both albums and, to be perfectly honest, it’s just fantastic to have the band back touring again.

Liam McMillen

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