The Kooks brought their Best of… So Far tour to Southampton’s Guildhall, a venue in which I find a sense of familiarity after seeing the likes of The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club and Catfish and the Bottlemen perform here.
However, this night belonged to The Kooks. The show somewhat pieced together the final instalments of their upcoming album, with the inclusion of Be Who You Are and Broken Vow, the latter of which being entirely new to the ears of the audience. For some context, you can check out my musings on Be Who You Are here:
The night initiated with support act, Fickle Friends warming the crowd and readying them for the main act to take the reins. The five-piece showcased seven songs with the standout for me personally being Swim. After hearing more of what this band has to offer, I’d wager that it won’t be too long until they headline this venue themselves – they boast a library of unique songs and their sound is certainly dissimilar to all other bands, in the best sense possible. Fickle Friends gained at least one fan that night.
Just before the band were due to inhabit the stage, a huge curtain was employed to mask the stage from an anxious and frankly, over-excited crowd. The buzz was justified, after all, The Kooks would be playing highlights from the iconic and career-defining Inside In/Inside Out whilst shouldering it with the hits that followed the debut, as well as the previously discussed brand-new material.
With the use of backing lighting, the band managed to conjure silhouettes of their physiques, amplifying the tension as they play the opening chords to Eddie’s Gun. The dismissal of the curtain was met with an uproar from the mouths of every fan in the venue. The floor began to bounce and shake as people stampeded towards the barrier, whilst partaking in the occasional mosh pit on their travels.
Throughout the night’s progression, the crowd never appeared to dim – instead, they were persistent in their eclectic displays of sheer appreciation for this band and their impressive back catalogue. Every lyric was chanted back to their authors, word for word. This was perfectly demonstrated throughout the performance of She Moves In her Own Way which is surely, unanimously regarded as one of The Kook’s best and most recognisable pieces of music.
As the night drew to a close, the crowd were left overwhelmed as they were blessed with a run-through of Naive to see them through their journey home. I strongly believe that the band implemented a venue with the humble capacity of 1800 to their advantage, maintaining the excitement of the crowd and suspending their anticipation as to which hit they would play next. I shall certainly remember this night, it was the perfect embodiment of the many years that I have followed this band, in the space of just a couple of hours.