The Kooks rock an adoring audience but you’d be Naïve to think they wouldn’t.
I arrived at the arena as the opening band, the DMAs, were already a few songs into their set so I won’t comment too heavily on them. What I will say, however, is any pessimism I had about the DMAs was blown away, they were fantastic and it is a great shame I didn’t get to see their full set, but I assume they will be a band I see in the future.
Shortly after it was time to move onto the main attraction, you’d struggle to find someone who doesn’t like at least one song by The Kooks. They are a band who, as of late, have become a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, no matter the mood when a Kooks song starts playing through my headphones I pop a little smirk and carry on with my business in a slightly happier mood. This being said I feel the band do have a lot of filler tracks, especially being the case with their more recent music. Despite enjoying the odd track, for the most part, their music just hasn’t made a real connection with me. So going into the gig I was filled with doubt, could The Kooks engage me during an hour and a half setlist? To answer honestly, not really…
The set began promising, Luke Pritchard was impressively strutting around the stage with an air of swagger, getting the crowd off their feet and doing an extremely good job to keep the hype alive. Then 20 or so minutes into the set the bangers started coming out, She Moves in Her Own way began followed by Westside and everyone went insane. However, this was short-lived, after this the filler material began to arise and I was lost. Now I’m sure my situation was not helped by the fact I was seated right at the back of the arena but I began to find myself getting bored. There was nothing wrong with the songs that were being played, they still sounded good, but I struggled to get involved with them. I had no idea of the lyrics to these songs which means the best I could offer was the odd sway and clap at the end of the song.
Towards the end of the set, I was pretty uninterested by the music on offer and wanted just one thing – what everyone in the arena wanted on that night – to hear Naïve. The Kooks finished their set and excitement re-entered the arena, everyone was expecting an action-packed encore and they delivered. The encore of the show was arguably the best part, the arena was as one for the first time all night and when the intro of Naïve began at the end of the encore it was a beautiful moment. Naïve is one of those songs that you’ll struggle not to sing along to, sitting at the back of the arena allowed me to watch the crowd become illuminated by phone lights and erupt with thousands of voices reminded me of what going to gigs is all about.
The gig may have been far from being one of my all time favourites, but what it did do was give me one of those musical moments that stick with you for a long time. I am extremely glad I got the chance to attend the gig and would recommend anyone with the chance to see The Kooks to do it, even if it is for the encore alone.