Music Editor Ellie Harris attends The Kooks’ anniversary tour, finding it the perfect celebration of the last 15 years

Music Editor and third year English and Creative Writing student

Nearly three years after I was supposed to see The Kooks at a local ill-fated festival, I finally got the chance to hear them live. Accompanied by Redbrick’s Digital Editor, Cerys, I headed down to the O2 Academy where we took our place in the buzzing crowd. 

First up was The Snuts, a Scottish indie rock band who put on an excellent opening performance that got the audience raring to go. Building anticipation with a bass overture that went right through you, they made us eagerly wait for their explosive set. Full of strong drum beats and guitar riffs, their classic indie rock sound was the perfect warm up to the main event, with a heavier sound and plenty of pre-chorus crescendos just what I needed to get in the concert vibe. 

they demonstrated again and again the indie pop-rock sound that they are so well known for

Interestingly, The Kooks opened their set with ‘Seaside,’ a song played purely on acoustic guitar. With only the frontman, Luke Pritchard, on stage, the crowd were already waving their torches in the air and singing along to the gentle melody. This tranquil atmosphere did not last for long though, as an almost immediate transition into electric guitar and snappy riffs took place. The atmosphere was electric, with people throwing beer into the air and Pritchard bouncing up and down on stage. The staging and lighting were simple but effective, with the illuminated logo in the backdrop making it impossible to forget who was putting on such a strong show. 

Throughout the evening, they demonstrated again and again the indie pop-rock sound that they are so well known for. Whilst somewhat formulaic, this did not detract from the enjoyment, instead creating a fun, party vibe that was maintained for the whole show. Shouting ‘we’re back baby, c’mon,’ it was clear that the band were having just as good a time as the fans, as they continued to thank everyone for their support throughout the years. Celebrating the 15-year anniversary of their debut album Inside In/Inside Out, they played a lot of the ‘oldies but goldies’ to the screaming approval of the crowd.

Predictably, ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ was a huge fan favourite, with almost the whole audience singing along. Pritchard even included an extra acoustic chorus at the end of the song for a karaoke moment, which seemed to go down well. The call and response section in ‘Bad Habits’ also proved popular, and it was incredibly fun to shout along at the top of our lungs. 

the venue seemed to explode with life and sound

Swapping between more mellow and faster paced songs, The Kooks did not just focus on the old music and chose to play their latest single, ‘Connection.’ Despite being 15 years older than some of the other songs, it fit right into the setlist and acted as an insight into the band’s evolution, which I personally really enjoyed. However, my favourite part of the gig had to be their performance of ‘Do You Wanna,’ as it was here that the rock and roll style combined with long instrumental sections allowed the band to shine as a collective. Taking the focus off of Pritchard and placing it on Hugh Harris on lead guitar and Alexis Nunez on drums, the venue seemed to explode with life and sound. 

Of course, there was only one song The Kooks could end on, and the night ended with a fantastic performance of ‘Naïve’ that you could not help but dance along to. Receiving a rapturous standing ovation from the crowds, it was certainly well deserved and I did not want the show to finish. I can safely say that next time they’re in town, I will be queueing up to see them again.

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