Kawala at the Waterfront Review 24/16/10
Spelt ‘Kawala’ due to the lead singers humorous spin on his dyslexia, this singer songwriter duo finished a massive UK tour in Norwich. Using there support slot alongside London based singer songwriter Dodie as a catalyst for the bands growth, the waterfront studio had an air of anticipation around it. It could be seen upon first glance that the crowd were a mixture of hardcore fans and very much casual listeners waiting to be converted. I entered as the latter, a casual listener, however left a bit less than that.
Support band Sun Silva brought a breath of fresh air to the waterfront studios. A large crowd turned up early to see the four piece, and they were not disappointed. I was apprehensive of the band at first as they lacked a lead guitarist but my worries were soon put to bed when the dream indie pop band brought their sound to life. The keyboard more than made up for the M.I.A lead guitar with riffs and funky synth sounds reminiscent of New order. This band is not to be missed and deserve all the success that comes their way.
Onto Kawala, the disappointing part of the night. I am not disputing that this band is talented, that is simply not in question. Intricate guitar riffs blended together over rolling percussion reminiscent of the beach, alongside intricate harmonies from two talented singers clearly show the vast arsenal of musical weapons these boys possess. There is also nothing wrong with the songs, they have a solid melody with a beat that had people dancing. You would think that all this combined with the dedicated fans on the barrier singing every word would create a brilliant gig. No, it did not.
I find it hard to pin-point what this band are missing, but it is definitely something. Perhaps it is diversity. With almost all of the songs following the same, worn out formula. A fresh idea would not go amiss. Even the songs performed from the upcoming EP were met with a similar reaction to the rest. The intro to every song was a ‘Do I know this? Err maybe’ moment, fans could be seen switching off throughout every song. Even switching up the tone of voice that drones over the tracks could make a world of difference for these two. It is clearly a nice voice the lead singer has but sometimes I just want to hear something a little bit different to your last song.
Lack of charisma in a band is never really a downfall in my eyes, the tunes can speak for themselves when a band is good enough. Trying a little too hard to be funny, personable and relatable however, can become grating. Jokes and anecdotes between each song from a grinning guitarist were met with a mixed reaction from the crowd, by the seventh tale of gigging ventures the general consensus was to get on with the show. I don't know who told the lads they were funny but whoever did so, was wrong.
Boredom definitely set in after the sixth song of the North London duos set. I just wasn’t interested anymore, there was nothing captivating, no air of excitement that this band was gonna really blow up like there should be in the smaller of the two rooms in the waterfront. Despite individual musicianship being excellent, I would describe the sound as: ‘Ben howard but half as interesting’ I think this statement sums up the whole performance perfectly.
Despite the flaws I am quick to point out, this band deserve some props for attracting a large crowd to Norwich that included some hardcore fans ready for a boogie. Maybe with some tweaks, new songs and a fresh outlook this band could change my mind again. For now I will remain a casual listener.