By Lauren Good, Second year English and Classics
KAWALA certainly didn’t disappoint with their first headlining show at Bristol. Their music a mix of ethereal harmonies and bass that drummed through the floor, it was a gig that resonated with every soul in the room.
The band has always been a favourite of mine, ever since I saw them perform as support for Dodie Clark earlier this year. They are humble and down to earth. During set-up, they interacted with members of the audience and joked throughout the hour they were on stage.
KAWALA are certainly a band that have found their sound. Whether they’re playing a fast-paced song such as ‘Do it Like You Do’ or the more sombre ‘Mighty River,’ they are identifiable. Whether this is through the distinct voice of lead vocalist Jim Higson or their music as a collective, it just works. They seem to interact effortlessly, with each harmony and chord struck perfectly in time. This may not be expected from a band that started as just two singers with strings, but they’ve certainly managed to pull it off. Now with drums, bass and electric guitar added to the mix, their sound is rich and even more full of character than before.
They varied the atmosphere in the room so often, switching from bouncy choruses to more intimate acoustics. The lead vocalist prides himself on accepting that he’s a ‘really bad dancer’ and bounded around the stage when the sound was more upbeat. It makes a gig so much more enjoyable when the band are also just there to have a good time. There were no pretences, no snobbery. They might as well have been dancing amongst us.
Their support, Sun Silva, also radiated with modesty. Oscar Gormley, their guitarist and lead vocals, said how nice it was to ‘play to a full room.’ I felt that I was watching a band in their beginnings, and one that has the promise to go very far in the future. Their music was a perfect balance between clean-cut lyrics and blurred humming, all powered by the confident percussion underneath. Transitions between songs were seamless, their set ending with a hug shared by each member (to which the whole room went ‘aww’). They set up the tone so well, leaving me wanting to frantically search for their music on Spotify.
KAWALA introduced four new songs from their upcoming EP, all of which promise to be just as good as their previous. Some are more stripped back and encourage tears, whilst others are perfect for dancing clumsily around your room. They promise they’ll be back in Bristol early next year. If you enjoy indie/acoustic music and want to see an up and coming band, I recommend the trip.
Featured Image: Epigram /Lauren Good