The re-appearance of The Kooks in recent months and the release of their new album Listen has sparked a massively popular 13 show UK tour across the month of November. Their sold out show at Birmingham’s O2 proved to be one of the largest crowds they’ve played to on the tour so far. By 4:30pm (3 hours before the doors opened) there were already people queueing outside the venue and I spotted many fans with Kooks t-shirts roaming around town.
Walking on Cars [7/10] kicked off the show in style. During the interview they expressed how eager they always are to get on stage and it definitely reflected in the amount of energy they put into every song. Despite only having released an EP in July and it being their first UK tour, the crowd were being extremely responsive; clapping in every song was not forced and cheers felt very genuine. Eyeing the crowd, there were also several people who were singing along, especially when their most recent single ‘Hand In Hand’ was played, all in all showing great potential as a live band.
During the short break there was a certain buzz of excitement as the fans waited for The Kooks to come up. It created an electric atmosphere in anticipation as to what the bands new sound will bring to their live shows. We were soon to find out…
The lights dimmed, the crowd pushed forward and the band filled their spots. The Kooks [8/10] kicked off their set list with a mix of new and older songs, all received equally well. However the new songs come across extremely well live. The more hip-hop and feel-good vibe to them made the crowd very dancey and lively. Maybe a bit too lively though; a fight built up during ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ and lead singer Luke Pritchard had to stop the song half way through. Quite ironic taking into account the cheerfulness of the song.
Luckily, Luke managed to bring the atmosphere back and calm the crowd down with a solo acoustic performance of ‘Seaside’ and ‘Dreams’.
However the best part of the show was definitely the encore, comprised of 3 highly emotional songs: ‘See Me Now’, a song that Luke wrote in dedication to his dad who died when he was only a kid, ‘Junk of the Heart’, their lively 3rd album single, and obviously ‘Naïve’ as the finale, a song which has represented them throughout the years and which the band plays still with full enthusiasm.
All in all the band put on an entertaining show. Even though they lack some interaction with the crowd (apart from telling them to stop fighting), the songs make up for it. In comparison with their gig I saw 3 years ago in the same venue, it’s clear that the songs from their new album make a positive contribution to their new live set. So it’s definitely the time to go to see them!