Longstanding fans of the Hare Krishna sect – famous for their 1969 top 20 hit ‘Hare Krishna Mantra' – were in uproar yesterday as the group used their first show in two years - at London's Oxford Street - to unveil a slew of newly-penned songs and chants.
Police backup was called for, as distressed fans demanded their donations back from the musical-wing of the Vaishnav Hindu sect.
‘They are usually a storming live act’ explained longstanding Krishna's fan Dave Devlin ‘But when you travel 80 miles to see them, you expect them to perform their big hit – it’s just not a Hare Krishna's show without it.’
‘We thought it was time to ring the changes to the setlist.’ explained lead damaru player Krishna Rishi Dass (formerly Colin Baxter from Aberdeen) ‘I still love playing it, but there’s so much more to us than just that one chant. If fans listened to our new album they’d be really surprised; we’ve tried some new things this time and I think it’s really paid off.’
Word that the Krishna’s were reinventing themselves leaked out last summer; news spread that they were in Berlin’s Hansa Studios with producers Brian Eno and William Orbit. The full extent of their transformation became apparent at yesterday’s show though; the band appearing one by one from Carphone Warehouse, sporting mullets and playing portable synthesisers and alto saxophones.
The Krishnas were formed in 1966 in New York by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, formerly of cult psychedelic garage band ‘Liquorice Stripes.’ They have undergone several line-up changes since. However, apart from an ill-advised prog phase in 1974, the group has adhered to a tried-and-tested formula, adored by their legions of fans around the world – at least until now.
‘We actually had a reworked version of our hit ready for the final encore.’ mused Baxter after the show ‘But once you’ve been pelted into Superdrug with copies of your own cookbook … well, it's 'game over' isn't it?’
‘It’s such a shame really: our fans are clearly not digging this latest incarnation of the group. Which, considering that we’ve always been really hot on the impermanence of all things and the inevitability of an endless cycle of reincarnations, is pretty bloody ironic, don’t you think?’