Brighton seems to be an infinite source of inspiration for many artists and one of our favorite seaside bands The Kooks is now back with a brand new record: "Junk Of The Heart" which was released two weeks ago and positioned at number 10 in the UK charts. The albumís official tour starts at the end of the month and it will have them performing in places of the likes of Australia, Japan, US and all Europe non-stop until the first weeks of 2012.
Before all that, the band pit stopped at Londonís Dingwalls to treat a couple hundred fans with some of their new material. Tickets for this event were sold out for weeks and the queue of heavily eye lined girls winding around the Camden lock that night was surprisingly long. Nonetheless, these girls they stood there stoically for at least two hours hoping to get the closest look of Mr. Pritchard (actually the most dedicated Kooks fans I saw was in Buenos Aires where a group of girls slept outside the venue the night before, covered with a Union Jack flag in a proper The Who fashion).
If you ever been to Dingwalls you know how quickly it becomes a walking sauna but this was not a problem for Luke whom appeared on stage wearing a thin t-shirt covered with holes, or in this case ventilation, "Hello Camden! Great to see you. Itís been a while". Night opener was "Always Were I Need to Be" and after only two and a half minutes the temperature went higher than the fitting rooms at Primark during the summer sale.
Time to present some new ones right? Was then the turn for "Is It Me" the second single from "Junk Of The Heart" which is yet another romantic indie rock ballad dedicated to broken hearts, followed by "Carried Away" an amazing new song that only made it to the recent release as a Bonus Track.
At this point, the security guard standing on the right had his forehead converted into a lake, and I bet 80% of the attendance started to regret applying that many layers of makeup. Luke grabbed a tiny white towel to dry up his face, and gently gave it as a present to a fan in the front row. I'm off to the bar for a beer, and getting back somewhere near-ish the front part of the stage was Vietnam.
For the song "Junk Of The Heart", Hugh switched to acoustic guitar, and the "I wanna make you happy!" part of the lyric was sang by nearly everyone (even myself). The Kooks alternated new and classic tunes with extreme smoothness, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of the unknown tracks were celebrated with equal effusion than "Ooh La" or "Sway".
They let "Naive" drop, and we all thought the set was over, but no, Luke came back from between a green smoke and started a guitar only version of "Seaside". Girls are dying for him and he knows it! Instead of pulling a James Dean, he yearningly smiled back at every sigh while moving to the piano for another brand new track "Saboteur". This one was a Bowie meets The Cure pop hymn a bit more dancy than what theyíre used to and much more powerful.
We're on for two more, "You Donít Love Me" and since a second guitar is not needed for this one, Luke took advantage of his mobility, stepped on one of the speakers, grabbed a tube from the ceiling and leaned over the fans. Everyone went mental and tried to pull him from his clothes, mike, cable, etc. He was not bothered and leaned even closer to everyone with an indelible satisfaction smile. He then asked for his towel back, and believe me, he needed it!
"Sofa Song" closed the night, and fans gathered around near the stage even after the band had left in order to obtain any type of memorabilia, setlist, plectrum, plastic cup, and I remember a guy (yes, a guy) asking for the silver duck tape with which the setlist was stuck to the floor. I think he got it.
It was a great come back gig for The Kooks, and everyone was more than pleased with the performance and most importantly with the new songs. The band was spotted outside the venue after the show, just smoking a cigarette and chatting among themselves with an enviable calm that can only be achieved by the sureness of the work well undertaken.
Always Where I Need To Be
See The World
Is It Me?
Mr Nice Guy
How D'Ya Like That
She Moves In Her Own Way
See The Sun
Junk Of The Heart (Happy)
Do You Wanna
You Don't Love Me