Screaming girls. Indie throwbacks. Waves of nostalgia and funk. The Kooks took control of the o2 Academy Birmingham on Saturday night (15th November) to hold their own epic party and we were there. Here’s our 5 highlights:
1) Irish Charm
Support act Walking On Cars have been playing consistently for two years, playing to thirty, forty people at a time and now they’re playing to a near sold-out room of 3000 people. They know no one in attendance has heard of them: “Pretend like you know the words and sing along”, but they give it their all and their blend of Snow Patrol and early-The Script indie pop rock sets them apart from anything we’ve seen for a while.
2) The Kooks 2.0
From the moment the roadies start sound-checking to the moment the Kooks finally leave the stage, there is a serious sense of love for the Brighton quartet from everyone in the room, particularly the wave upon wave upon wave of teenage girls. Back in 2006, The Kooks were huge. Their next two albums flopped a bit, but they’ve been taking note. They’ve obviously gone away, listened to The 1975 and have rebranded themselves by writing teenage anthems for this generation, just like they did in the noughties.
Pulling out the classics early on, The Kooks have a collection of indie-pop gems like See The World and Ooh La which take you straight back to your youth. Its tunes like Eddie’s Gun and The Sofa Song which really get the crowd going, a sign that no matter how much they reinvent themselves, those debut tracks will always be loved by all. Taking up 7 of the night’s 19 songs, the band rely on these anthems to keep the pace up, apart from a roaring rendition of Seaside complete with sing-along.
4) Tin of Sardines
So this gig is full of teenage girls and a lot of drunk guys, and with the Kooks older stuff being jumpy and the newer stuff being danceable, it’s like one big disco in the o2. So imagine a lot of girls dancing for the attention of frontman Luke Pritchard whilst a bunch of guys jump as high as they can to show their love for the music. Of course, it’s sold out and moving even the tiniest amount re-enacts what it’s like to be in a tin of sardines. It’s a small negative on such a good gig, but it sucks not being able to enjoy the gig because everyone else seemingly is.
5) Big Time
As the mixed encore of the emotional heart-string tugging See Me Now, to the happy anthem Junk of the Heart to their biggest hit ever Naïve, comes to an end, you get a sense of success from the four men on stage. Despite having to stop halfway through She Moves In Her Own Way because two clowns wanted a fight, The Kooks have definitely made a statement tonight: they may have been down, but they’re back, and better than ever. Could we be seeing them in arena’s next time round? Maybe, just maybe.
The Kook’s latest album, Listen, is out now.