Review: The Kooks at O2 Guildhall, Southampton

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The Kooks are the quintessential indie-pop British band. They formed in Brighton in 2004 and have remained in popular sphere since, with big hits like ‘Naïve’ and ‘She Moves in Her Own Way’ having been cemented to ‘classic’ status. On Wednesday 27th January they completed their newest UK tour at Southampton’s very own O2 Guildhall, after postponing their original date in December. Despite the ugly carpet that runs throughout the entirety of the Guildhall, the sheer volume of high profile acts that they have been holding at the local venue means it shouldn’t be dismissed purely for aesthetic reasons.

The Edge‘s Carly-May Kavanagh went along to see whether the band are still able to provide a high level of entertainment for an evening.

The Kooks have been a favourite band of mine for 10 years – once when driving to visit family, my mum and myself listened to ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ and ‘Naïve’ on repeat non-stop. For three hours. I’m a pretty big fan.

And then Konk was released, and I found myself not enjoying songs that I found monotonous, that I didn’t really want to sing along to because singing “shine shine shine on” for three and a half minutes didn’t appeal to me. I was sceptical about whether or not I would enjoy what else they had to offer that wasn’t on Inside In/Inside Out, their debut, and if I would switch off during other songs or whether I’d enjoy them.

However the Brighton band failed to disappoint in the Guildhall, kicking off with ‘Seaside’ and ‘See The World’, the two opening tracks of their debut album. The hour and a half long set had a balanced mix of tracks, with the band obviously recognising the popularity of their debut and slightly leaning more towards playing that, including ‘Sofa Song’, ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ and ‘Naïve’.

Even songs that I hadn’t been crazy about on albums like Konk were vastly improved live, with their last gig of the tour having a mix of songs that worked well together. Every song sounded just as good, if not better, live, with Luke Pritchard proving that he can perform just as well on stage as he can in the studio, his voice and everyone’s playing being spot-on. I found myself singing along to songs that I hadn’t known or particularly listened to.

They ended with ‘Shine On’, which I actually found myself enjoying live, ‘Junk of the Heart (Happy)’ from their latest album and ‘Naïve’. Many consider their first album to be their best, and I completely agree, and I’m glad they played slightly more from their debut than any other albums, and songs from Konk were kept lowl.

I hadn’t known what to expect when seeing The Kooks, having never seen them before, and I was pleasantly surprised with the set they delivered. Aesthetically the digital backdrop and lighting were visually stimulating and stunning, and the atmosphere was lively and excitable throughout the set.

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Third year PAIR student and live editor. Also the Wessex Scene's Head of Events. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about politics and cats @_Carly_May on Twitter.

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