KC and the Sunshine Band at KOKO, London | Concert Review
Contributor: George Luke
During the glory days of disco, the venue now known as Koko in London's Camden Town used to be called the Music Machine and was the setting for a Saturday Night Fever-inspired film with the same name. Having this much disco in its DNA made Koko an inspired choice of venue for KC & the Sunshine Band to play their first London concert in 19 years.
The two-hour show was a colourful crash course in Harry Wayne Casey's musical career and influences. There were all the hits, including ‘Get Down Tonight’, ‘Give It Up’, ‘Boogie Shoes’, ‘Queen of Clubs’ - and, of course, ‘That’s the Way (I Like It)’. There were songs Harry had written for other people - such as George McCrae’s ‘Rock Your Baby’ (which, Harry told us, became the inspiration for both Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’ and John Lennon's ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’). And there were covers of old soul hits and other disco classics - some of which feature on the latest Sunshine Band album, Feeling You! The 60s. All these were served up with multiple costume changes, drum and guitar solos and gravity-defying choreography.
The most inspiring thing about this gig was just how much joie de vivre there was flowing about. Harry Wayne Casey's message to the world seems to be that he knows he’s getting old, but he’s embracing it and intends to keep on enjoying himself. His first words to the audience were "I'm 66. What happened?" To the younger members of the audience, he said, "I'm your mother's N-Sync. Take a good link; this is Justin Timberlake in 30 years' time!" In the audience too, there were people who were equally celebratory about growing older. One of the most joyful dancers was a man wearing a hat covered in glitter with a giant number 60 on the front.
KC - thank you ever so much for a wonderful evening’s entertainment. Please don’t make us wait another 19 years before you play London again.