Gig Review and Photography by Carolyn Brown

The Kooks

Fresh into their mammoth ‘comeback’ tour of the UK, The Kooks presented a night of nostalgia, rock ‘n’ roll and explosive energy at their sold out gig at Birmingham’s O2 Academy on Saturday night. The pop-rock band made up of Brighton boys Luke Pritchard, Hugh Harris, Alexis Nunez, and Peter Denton, are playing 17 gigs to coincide with the release of their current single ‘Be Who You Are’ whilst they ready us for the release of their fifth album, treating us to a taste of what to expect.

Clean Cut Kid

But first, the evening started with a well received warm up from indi-pop group, Clean Cut Kid. The Liverpudlian four piece, which consists of husband and wife, Mike and Evelyn Hall, along with Saul Goodman and Ross Higginson, provided an eruptive start to the evening with an indi sound that complemented The Kooks well. In amongst their catchy pop-rock melodies, I particularly enjoyed the mesmerising harmonies that created an almost Southern vibe, and the epic guitar solos that could have been taken out of an 80’s power ballad. They performed songs including ‘Leaving You Behind’ and ‘Vitamin C’. They also played new single ‘Felt’, the title track from their upcoming debut album, which bushy-bearded frontman, Mike, declared an especially meaningful song as the whole band had written it together.

Clean Cut Kid

Clean Cut Kid

I hadn’t heard much from Clean Cut Kid prior to this performance, but after that extremely impressive performance I’m sure I’ll find myself downloading ‘Felt’ as soon as it’s released.

The Kooks

Satisfied by the warm up, the crowd waited in anticipation for The Kooks. A symphonic soundtrack and blackout erupted the arena into an excited hysteria. Floppy haired Pritchard and the rest of the band kicked off the main event with an explosive performance of ‘Eddie’s Gun’ from their iconic debut Album, Inside In/Inside Out.

The Kooks

Predicting (and hoping) to be thrown back to the mid-naughties Kooks sound, I yearned to relive the age of new millennial rock that got me through exams and long teenage summers, which the gig didn’t fail to do. In amongst the eclectic looking crowd, you could tell there was a fair portion of people also looking for the revival of those glory years where The Fratellis, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, made their mark – far from the current chart dribble.

The Kooks

However, amongst us oldies and millennials, The Kooks also seem to have attracted a much younger fan base – age clarified by the number of parents waiting outside at the end. Their progression in their music from Inside In/Inside Out (2006) to Listen (2014) ensure’s their sound is kept relevant and at some points during the set I felt like they were almost unrecognisable from what I know to be The Kooks, but at the same time it seems as though they have enough identity to progress without completely losing their Kooks’ness’.

The Kooks

They to-and-froed from old school tunes such as ‘You Don’t Love Me’ to newer tracks like ‘Bad Habit’. Pritchard took a humble moment to take us on a ‘trip down memory lane’ to appreciate the loyal support from their fans which the crowd revelled to hear. His charm and rocky presence kept the show fuelled throughout.

The Kooks

‘Pull Me In’, which Pritchard revealed as one of the first songs they wrote, was never actually released as a single or on an album but the crowd seemed to be familiar with it. The slight Caribbean rhythm on the track complemented their exotic shirt attire well, whilst the band only needed to play the first chord of the next song before the ecstatic crowd exploded into dance for ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’. This was then followed by their brand new single ‘Be Who You Are’.

The Kooks

The band performed a near marathon of 23 songs, which included a ballad or two inclusive of a stunning piano solo from Pritchard (which I’m guessing he used in order to catch his breath). The lead prompted the crowd to get on shoulders, obliging happily, a festival atmosphere unfolded inside the arena, ready for ‘Seaside’, followed by my personal favorite ‘Always Where I Need To Be’.

The Kooks

Their entire set went down a storm with the crowd, who deafeningly chanted ‘we want more’ before the encore which consisted of ‘Around Town’, ‘Shine On’ and of course, the song everyone was there to hear ‘Naive’. An apt end to a set from my adolescent years.

The Kooks

The Kooks

One Response to “The Kooks + Clean Cut Kid @ O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK – 22nd April 2017”

  1. Danielle Says:

    Hi my names Danielle,
    Im just wondering if you have any more photos of the crowd from The Kooks Birmingham show?
    I was on the barrier, tall blonde with the flower crown… if you have any photos with me in them id love to see them!!

    thank you :)
    Danielle

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