This past weekend (4/02/2022) saw the return of The Kooks, performing live within the O2 Academy to what I could only consider to be one of the biggest crowds I have witnessed within the venue. For a band that has been around for the best part of 15 years, to say the atmosphere entering the setting was electric was certainly an understatement. The Inside In/Inside Out tour (made to celebrate their 15th year anniversary) was unquestionably met with a lot of buzz, and that was for a fact the case with the Brum crowd, who ignited the stage.
As mentioned before, The Kooks decided to take a slightly different approach with the 2022 tour. Instead of celebrating their most recent release, ‘Echo in the Dark Part 1’ which includes singles such as the single ‘Connection’, they decided to take a really dive deep into their discography and celebrate the 15 years of music that they had constructed. (Hence why the tour was named after their first, and arguably most popular album). With that in mind, the lead singer, Luke Pritchard, finally took centre stage and performed the debut song of their first album, ‘Seaside’, which was met with an incredibly warm reception to the acoustic track. The crowd was certainly taken by surprise with the track as an opening, but it was an incredibly nice way to kick off the night, as the crowd was eased into a night of energetic singing along.
The Kooks continued through the setlist, managing to maintain the buzz of the Birmingham crowd, performing songs such as ‘Sofa Song’, ‘Ooh La’, ‘You Don’t Love me’ and the ever popular ‘She Moves in Her Own Way’, even adding an extra acoustic chorus to give a chance for the crowd to join in, which was a sweet addition to the track. By beginning with a selection of short song, the band were able to keep the crowd engaged and interested. Keen Kooks fans will also notice they played through the album in order, and although they missed out a few key tracks such as ‘See the World’, it was certainly another lovely touch to their approach to the setlist. However, as much as I can praise them for keeping the crowd buzz going at the beginning of the setlist, it can absolutely be said that during the mid-segment they started to slightly lose the crowd, performing more recent tracks such as ‘Connection’ and slower romantic ballads. Despite the performance of the track being as excellent as the other songs throughout the night, they began to lose the energy of the crowd, who were waiting for the big drums and guitars that have made The Kooks their name. The band started to bring the crowd back with performances of ‘Shine On’, which got them up and singing once again
The band went offstage to rousing applause and calls for ‘one more song’. As the lights flashed and the crowds’ shouts reached their peak, they came back for three more songs, including ‘No Pressure’ and their 2006 smash hit ‘Naive’. This ending song was the moment where the audience and the band were most united as we all sang along. As one of the most energetic songs of their album, it came across particularly strongly onstage, with the lead singer rushing across the stage and seeming to disperse the energy from his performance through the audience.
Throughout the performance, The Kooks were able to lend themselves to the energy of the crowd and, although the setlist lost the audience at points, they were able to show why they have become a household indie name, whose songs will continue to live on in people’s minds. We cannot wait to see what direction The Kooks take next in their musical journey.