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Review: Kosheen at the Britannia Theatre, Chatham, January 2015

Powerhouse vocalist Sian Evans, frontwoman of bass-heavy dance outfit Kosheen, gave a performance well worthy of the state-of-the-art Bose sound system at the Britannia Theatre, Chatham last night.

Kosheen are playing at the Britannia Theatre
Kosheen are playing at the Britannia Theatre

The trio, who formed in Bristol in the late Nineties, were last in the UK charts in around 2003, after reaching their commercial peak with the hits Hide U, Catch, Hungry and All In My Head.

But the roots of this under-rated force are in the drum and bass underground, and the passion and pull of the underground scene was still pulsing through the performance that thrilled fans who have followed the band's career since the debut album, Resist, brought them to mainstream attention.

It was a mixed and lively crowd at the Britannia, but none more lively than charismatic and highly likeable Welsh frontwoman Sian, who was funny and open in her frequent interactions with the crowd and was very generous in saying: "I got very excited when we were approaching and I started seeing road signs for Medway." The explanation for this, if any were needed, is that Sian spent part of her childhood in Whitstable and so felt relatively close to her old home, this being their only Kent gig.

Kosheen: Sian Evans, centre, pictured with Markee Ledge, aka Substance, right, and Darren Decoder, right
Kosheen: Sian Evans, centre, pictured with Markee Ledge, aka Substance, right, and Darren Decoder, right

At the outset, as Sian belted out quality track after quality track of the group's more down tempo numbers, it was clear we were in for a masterclass in flawless vocals, passionate performance and crowd engagement. Moving into the song I Want It All, Sian appealingly said, 'This is a song about being the other woman. Never settle for less than 100 per cent, ladies...'

Her quirky and striking style of floorlength black dress with tassled, shoulder-padded cape and asymmetric haircut added drama to Sian's characteristic high-energy dancing as the mood moved through the band's dark, bass-ey numbers like Not Enough Love to the more guitar-led All In My Head (introduced with "This song is about taking my friends and family with me in my head. You store it all in your head and now you lot are in there too - there's plenty of room in there.")

The other original member of the band, Markee Ledge, is a talented and enigmatic figure, moving seamlessly between the mixing deck to the electric guitar and keyboard behind his sunglasses, and his connection with Sian was evident as the two at one point humorously communicated across the stage charades-style, Sian quipping: "I don't know how they put up with me. It's a good job I can hold a tune." Third member of the group was relative newcomer, drummer Mitch Glover, who certainly proved his merit as the night moved into the fast-paced drum and bass numbers.

And that's what we were really there for - as the fast-paced hits such as Slip & Slide (Suicide) and Hide U got pumping, that Bose sound system got the workout it needed, with the bass vibrations coming up through the soles of your feet and into your chest. The crowd, though not nearly as large as Kosheen merited based on a truly outstanding performance, threw themselves into it with gusto and the night peaked with the group's encore of Catch. I'll be catching them again as soon as possible and will keep my eyes peeled for festival appearances by these three this summer - pure quality.

Jo Roberts

Kosheen were at the Britannia Theatre for one night only. For more Kosheen dates visit www.kosheenrecords.com. For upcoming shows at the Britannia Theatre, visit www.thebritanniakent.com

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