KAWALA offer refuge from a cold Autumnal night with a performance that will be remembered for years to come.
Since we were lucky enough to sit down with KAWALA at the start of the year, the band have been on a one-way ascension to stardom.
Main stage Reading & Leeds? Check.
Supporting George Ezra across Europe? Check.
Headlining their biggest run of UK shows to date? Check.
That’s where we join them: just a matter of miles from the borough of Camden, the Islington Assembly Hall welcomed the band to illuminate its beautiful interior with their brand of energetic indie hits. The venue felt warm, not just because many were peeling off layers of jumpers and coats to try and forget the wet and dreary London evening, but because everyone in the audience seemed to have a collective sense of excitement to see KAWALA’s homecoming performance.
The setlist was littered with the highlights of their ever-growing discography, while also taking some choice moments to showcase some of the band’s brand new tunes too. The reception was electric. Everyone in the venue understood the magnitude of this show and wanted to play a part in making sure the gig was going to be an unforgettable experience.
The balance between the soft, intimate and inviting moments of the set offered by the likes of Moonlight and the sing-a-long inducing highs of Play It Right proved how KAWALA can provide a little bit of everything. As expected, the likes of Runaway and Do It Like You Do stole the show, sparking dancing and choral cries from every corner of the venue. Of course, it wouldn’t be a KAWALA show without some quick witticisms from Daniel McCarthy, nor some innovative(?) dancing from Jim Higson – both of which added to the party-like vibe of the evening. For the duration of their set, it felt as though no one in attendance had a care in the world.
I must take some time to comment on the band’s flashy choice of backdrop. Looking as if it had been lifted straight from a hotel bar in Benidorm, the shimmering gold backing looked wonderful as it flickered under the stage lights. Oxymoronic to the detailed and delicate nature of the venue, the band’s vibrant performance was only boosted by the way their stage was dressed.
Each song was delivered with intent and a willingness to showcase just how far the band have come in the past few months – leaving the audience utterly fixated by each and every note of the performance. There is something very special about KAWALA and this gig showcased just how much potential they have to take the world by storm