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Live Review: The Kooks

7 October 2022 | 4:45 pm | Michael Prebeg

“We’re here to play every song from that album, so I hope you’re ready,”

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Aussie four-piece rock ‘n rollers The Vanns warm up the crowd, who pack in early to get a good spot on the floor. Their explosive indie-rock sound gets the energy levels turned up high, opening their set with Red Eye Flight. They share an excellent cover of Bon Iver’s Hey Ma (previously recorded for triple j Like A Version), with emotionally charged choruses and whirling guitars to give the anthem a whole new life. 

British indie rockers The Kooks return to Festival Hall after many years since their last tour, and long-time fans are excited to welcome them back. Frontman Luke Pritchard starts off on the stage solo and strums his acoustic guitar along to the opening track Seaside, from their debut album Inside In / Inside Out. This tour marks a celebration of their first album – fifteen years since it was released into the world. 

“We’re here to play every song from that album, so I hope you’re ready,” he says.

The full band joins in for See The World, and the whole place comes alive with their nostalgic hits filled with jangly guitars, sing-along choruses, and thickly accented melodies.

“We have so many memories here, we’re glad to be back. It feels like coming home,” declares Pritchard. They continue to take us down memory lane, with tracks from their iconic 2006 album mixed in with a few other favourites from their catalogue and some new songs too.

The crowd sings along to every song at the top of their lungs, like we’re in a band together, creating the chorus for She Moves In Her Own Way. For many fans, these songs hold a special place because they were the soundtrack to their teenage years. It’s clear that The Kooks’ music is timeless and still charming as ever.

In addition to the anniversary of their debut, The Kooks have also just released a brand new album this year titled 10 Tracks To Echo In The Dark. It’s evident they’ve evolved as an indie band with a career that spans nearly two decades, so it’s expected that their sixth studio album marks a bit of a different creative direction for them. They share some new tracks, including Connection and Cold Heart, that are influenced by an electro-pop sound that suits them well and gets the crowd moving along to the upbeat, danceable vibe. 

“We’ve been on quite a journey as a band, and it always brings us back here,” Pritchard exclaims before they dive into a few favourites from their second album Konk, including Do You Wanna, which really pumps up the crowd. They continue with a long instrumental jam that keeps the momentum at a high, with Junk Of The Heart (Happy) serving as the last song before the encore. 

The audience stomps their feet on the hardwood floors of the hall with so much force that we can feel the venue tremble and echo at every corner. 

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“We’ve got a few more songs, we totally lied,” says Pritchard as they return to the stage. They start off slow and work up to their biggest hit, Naïve. It’s the perfect way to finish with quite possibly the most nostalgic indie anthem from the ‘00s. There’s no doubt that even after all this time, The Kooks still make us feel alive with youthful energy and have an unbreakable connection with their Australian fanbase.