Sian Evans Kosheen at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea REVIEW: ‘A charismatic and endearing performer’

From the dawn of dance music being performed live, it’s had a bit of an image problem.

Monday, 13th May 2019, 10:11 am
Sian Evans Kosheen at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, May 11, 2019. Picture by Paul Windsor

More often than not, it’s been a bloke or two behind a bank of machines and some visuals. There are obvious exceptions. Kosheen were one of those acts that took the ‘live band’ route instead.  Following early success in the noughties, after numerous hit singles and a brace of gold-selling albums, they dissolved in 2015. Frontwoman Sian Evans has taken up the act’s reins, performing with a band that takes an, initially at least, surprisingly ‘rock’ approach to the old material. Damage, the title track to Kosheen’s third album, is a bracing opener, and by third number, Hungry,  a top 20 song back in 2002, Evans has got the crowd singing half the track for her. Evans is a charismatic, if somewhat scatty and rather endearing performer. She clearly loves what she does and feeds off of the warmth of the crowd. And my word, she still has the voice. It’s a powerful instrument that could level buildings. It’s not until well into the set that they fully embrace Evans’ drum’n’bass roots, and it’s actually on their version of her 2014 track with Dr Meaker, Right Back. As she points out, her career as a songwriter goes beyond Kosheen. Drummer Mitchell Glover – a local boy no less, his mum’s in the crowd –  is an absolute revelation. He is a total powerhouse on the more dance-oriented tracks, a total blur of limbs.They delve right back to Kosheen's debut single Dangerous Waters before playing Hide U, Kosheen’s highest charting song, and it has the busy crowd bouncing. They encore with Catch, another top 20 single, which has the audience singing back to Sian word-perfect, and in a dancing frenzy. Such is the response, Evans asks how they can expect to top that? But of course, she still has Louder in the locker – her co-write with DJ Fresh from 2011. The track was ubiquitous at the other end of the decade, and here the dubstep tune becomes a rocked-out singalong that has the whole room in unison. Evans seems genuinely humbled by the response. The reworking of Kosheen’s best-known songs show that while she wants to keep them alive, she’s no mere nostalgist. With a long-gestating solo album in the works, it’s going to be interesting to see where this captivating artist chooses to jump next. 

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Sian Evans Kosheen at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, May 11, 2019. Picture by Paul Windsor