Monday, 19 December 2011

The Kooks go out on a high*

*quite possibly literally in Luke's case

Female hormones ran wild last night as The Kooks played one of their last gigs of 2011.
Support came in the form of Scoundrels; four guys from London, so far so generic, but who turned out to be pretty bloody good. A country/blues influence is evident in their music and a little research reveals the band spent time in Louisiana, writing, recording and soaking up the laid back Louisiana groove. Lead Vocalist Ned Wyndham reminded me of a darker haired Eric Hutchinson; several songs struck me as similar to early Kings of Leon. Sadly too often support bands give you the chance to nip to the bar, and discuss what song you think the headliners will open with. Not this time. Scoundrel's talent and quirky songs left me drink-less and their attractiveness left the girls next to me squealing, yes, painfully squealing, with delight. I blame you for the scream-induced ringing in my ears boys, but I will be buying your album.

What I liked most about The Kooks setlist was that they weren't afraid to take it right back to Inside In/Inside Out. Many bands seem to forget that the majority of their fans have been there from the start, and we don't care if you've had 2 albums since then - we want naive and we want it now. Predictably, but still brilliantly, naive was the final encore number, and the rest of the setlist consisted of a perfect balance of all 3 albums.

Luke Pritchard's shirt was ripped from the start (no complaints) and his mannerisms suggested something other than creative juices were flowing backstage. But who can judge, at 26 he's already selling out around the world; simply rubbing the microphone down his chest gains him rapturous applause. He's talented too, several guitars and a piano made an appearance during the night. For 'Seaside' it was just Pritchard, alone on the stage so the rest of the band could 'go and have a beer.'
What a nice chap.

The Kooks know what they're doing. As with many bands of their genre, the lead singer takes the attention. Pritchard strutted up and down like he owned the stage - and he did. Looking up at the balcony seats, well, they might as well have ditched them, everyone was on their feet; I even spotted a suspiciously middle aged couple miming along to Shine on. Their confident stage presence and seamless song changes prove they've got it together as a band. Cheeky little glances between the boys give you the impression they are genuinely happy to be here. And while the most of us can't even speak coherently after several beers, Luke manages to carry a whole show, and carry it well. Kooks, I salute you.

p.s check out because they really were pretty decent.

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