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The Kooks


I rummaged through my old CD collection today in an effort to find Inside In/Inside Out, the first record from Brit Pop group The Kooks. We all do it, don't we; the day before a gig one must revisit the particular record that inevitably led to you clasping a couple of concert tickets in your hands right now. As some time had indeed passed since my last listen, and my boyfriend had no idea exactly who it was we were seeing tonight, it was time for a re-listen.

  

While their debut may be an old favourite for many, it's their latest offering Junk Of The Heart that brings them down under once again. Despite their line-up changes over the years, from a listen to their single on high rotation on our national airwaves of late, it seems The Kooks have solidified their catchy take on pop-rock. Trekking across the city, down deserted back streets, we find ourselves outside the historical Festival Hall with the sound of 'Is It Me' bopping from inside. First song off the bat, the lady at the door informs us. Barely a minute has passed before they've launched into 'Always Where I Need To Be', and thus sets the pace for the chaotic set ahead; they jam twenty-odd songs into the space of an hour.

  

Whilst they've chosen to open the set with songs from their latter albums, it is Inside In/Inside Out that features most throughout the evening, and the crowd seem to respond favourably. 'Sofa Song' packs a punch early in the set, with frontman Luke Pritchard bounding back and forth across the platform onstage. From his thick accent, it's difficult to discern most of what is said in his between-song banter, though it's consistently met with screams from the throngs of teenage girls lifting up their shirts behind me. Considering their first album was released in 2006, I'm guessing the majority of their female fan base here tonight were still in primary school at the time.

  

Tracks such as 'Sway', 'Shine On' and 'Do You Wanna' from their sophomore release Konk were welcomed, along with a few new ones. However, it was evident from the crowd's whole-hearted sing along to a solo acoustic version of 'Seaside' and the emphatic response to encore 'Naïve' that neither of their follow-up records quite matched the success of their debut. They still seem to be riding that wave in a big way, and while that seems to be working out nicely for them, I can't help but feel my musical tastes have evolved over the years from my former twenty-year old self. Along with the other pop-rock groups that were kicking around the UK at that time (think Kasabian, The Fratellis and The Editors), to me they seem to be suited to that time and place in musical history (and in my mind) and not today's current climate. It just feels like it's all been done before. And while I cannot discredit them on their delivery in any way or their ability to please a crowd, there just wasn't that little something else that makes you go 'whoa'. It's that little something else that makes it.

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