LIVE REVIEW: Kultur Shock at The 100 Club, London

Kultur Shock

Whilst Kultur Shock are a Seattle-based band, they do not have a presumed Seattle sound. As “de-facto founders of the gypsy punk movement”, their sound transcends geography. Over the last 26 years, Kultur Shock has contributed significantly to the global popularity of Balkan cultural and musical traditions.

This six-piece punk-rock aesthetics draws together their honest, observant political commentaries through the eighties and nineties metal and ethnic folk elements. The prowess of these elements is that the clarinet and violins stand in solidarity as equal powers with the leading guitars and bass.

The international prowess of the band can be summarised in these lyrics for the song “Country Mohammed,” taken from their latest 7-inch release: “I was born far away, and then I moved to the USA”. The band played “Country Mohammed” alongside “King”, which also appears on this release. With both songs dating back to 2009 when first released from Kultur Shock’s Integration LP, these songs have become live staples. It would have been disappointing not to play them at a venue with so much global cultural history as The 100 Club.

By observing several audience members’ black garments with band names of the most significant international metal bands, one would have expected a hard-core show of moshing, head banging and even bloody noses. With frontman Gino Yevdjevich’s attire and ability to keep the crowd on their feet, it seems hard to believe that Kultur Shock did not get the crowd to behave as one would expect at a hard-core metal show.

The truth is Kultur Shock got the people to do so much more. Yevdjevich also played the trumpet throughout; Amy Denio, alongside the ethnic harmonies and clarinet, brought saxophone and bouzouki, whilst Eleni Govetas plucked emotive violin and provided backing vocals. The crowd showed their elated appreciation by dancing freely at a close-knit folk with, for some unknown reason, sporadic star jumps as they did with support band Shunta.

There was an element of cheekiness and determination to shock civil society and behave in a deviant way because it was one’s liberty to do so was found in the following lyrics “I’ve got to quit drugs but not today…”. This certainly would have helped the band in their founding years, but it is only a minor part of their appeal and essence. Instead, the attraction partly lies in being truly global. Kultur Shock does more than blend metal, punk and Balkan sounds; they embrace rap too. Yevdjevich’s deftness was his ability to rely on messages across several languages.

Kultur Shock’s main appeal is their ability to observe societal and cultural shocks rather than create them. Gino best described this on stage how the biggest danger people face is when the majority is silent, which galvanises the band to support international LGBTQ+ campaigns.

Kultur Shock has secured a legacy by defying trends and searching for their authentic international soul. There was no etiquette or ritual. Hence, the occasional star jumps. This ongoing authentic search will continue as they are set to record a new LP with a 2024 release date.

Kultur Shock

Xsnoize Author
Michael Barron 296 Articles
Michael first began writing whilst studying at university; reviewing the latest releases and live gigs. He has since contributed to the Fortean Times as well as other publications. Michael’s musical tastes vary from Indie to psychedelic, folk and dubstep.

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