The Kooks at the Forum
Saturday night crowds present a double-edged sword to performers. A high expectations and the liberating knowledge that an extra drink or two won’t lead to a workplace hangover in the morning often result in a mercurial crowd mentality. It comes as no surprise that the young and lively audience packed into the arching vault of the Forum are almost black and white in their attitude towards a competent set from mid-noughties indie pop mainstay, The Kooks.
The crowd erupts into screams as front man Luke Pritchard (guitar/vocals) arrives onstage. With little fanfare he bursts into the frantic guitar licks and indie pop vocals of See the World, from their 2006 debut album Inside In/Inside Out. Throughout a set that delivers new and old material alike, the crowd are reminded that, despite The Kooks’ recent experiments with such diverse styles as reggae, funk and new wave, they have a firm background in indie and britpop. Indeed, the crowd are at their liveliest during the older material, including She Moves in Her Own Way and Ooh La, with eminently catchy lyrics and guitar riffs reminiscent of a Fratellis or Arctic Monkeys album.
That isn’t to say that some of the band’s more experimental material from 2014 album, Listen, doesn’t go down well. A highlight of the evening comes when drummer Alexis Nunez and bassist Peter Denton throw themselves enthusiastically into the funk rhythms of Forgive & Forget, whilst Pritchard leads an extended call and response section with the crowd (these lyrics, after all, are practically made to be screamed by a group of tipsy twentysomethings). However, the crowd are clearly here for the tracks that brought The Kooks into the spotlight nearly a decade ago; they turn to chatting amongst themselves during some lesser known material, but clearly buoy Pritchard and his crew during classics such as Naive, which closes the set to rapturous applause.
It’s unfortunate that, despite enthusiasm from the band, The Kooks’ performance lacks polish and is marred by poor sound levels; it is consistently difficult to pick out the high kicks and strained punk-pop cries that characterise Pritchard’s vocal style and the group’s earlier work. Alongside a crowd that at times seem disinterested, this overshadows an otherwise capable set from a group that clearly still have passion and drive.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information about The Kooks and future events, visit here.
Watch the video for Forgive & Forget here: