Hello friends! So a few posts back, I did an updated Gig Guide, where I mentioned that I would be finally be seeing The Kooks, live in concert.
I did it.
It was a little while back, but due to being away with some friends in a small beach town two hours away from my laptop, I’ve had to wait a little while before writing this post. The concert however, was a night in itself. I’m going to apologise now for the shocking photos that I barely managed to take from where we were sitting. I promise it was a lot better in person, the view was completely fine, but the slight want for a gin and tonic in the Over 18 section next to the bar outweighed the desire to get in the mosh-pit on a 28 degree celsius evening. Entirely.
So, since arriving there an hour before the doors opening, an hour and a half before the support acts came on and a whole two hours before The Kooks stepped foot on the stage, we decided to find something to eat. While I’m always down for a good mosh pit, what I didn’t miss, was lining up for hours before the show, knowing happily that we had three seats reserved for us, the bar a couple of metres away, and absolutely no rush.
We ended up going for quite the little hike, we did. I’m going to talk Melbourne, Australia. The Kooks were playing Festival Hall, which was fantastic, great venue, however there is absolutely nothing around the place, in terms of shops of restaurants or any food whatsoever. Which meant that we ended up hiking all the way to Etihad Stadium. Why? Because back in the summer of February, 2015, the three of us had indulged in what is to date, the best hot chips we’ve ever tasted, only a two minute walk from the Etihad Stadium doors. So that’s where we were headed. Except we got to Etihad, did an entire lap of the stadium, before finding the place, shut and under new management. That was a disappointment. The kicker? It dawned on us that it was actually 6:30 on a Wednesday evening, and most sane places, were shutting. So from there, we came to the conclusion to catch a train from Southern Cross Station and high tail it to our favourite spot for $5 pizzas and drinks, Melbourne Central’s Asian Beer Cafe. Only to realise that 1/3 of our party didn’t have her train card, so that idea was food. Want to know what we ended up eating? A medium fries each from Hungry Jacks.
Then we followed a couple of teenage girls who were dressed like the only place they could be heading at 7:45 on a Wednesday night, was a concert. Spot on.
Getting in, getting our seats it was all easy, and we were right in time for the opening acts The Belligerents, a Brisbane band who we were convinced we’d never listened to before. Until they started playing. I have to admit that they had amazing music, very familiar songs which I know I’ve caught on Triple J a couple of times, but the best part has to be the lead singer. Call it dancing, call it writhing, call it a medical fit, a seizure, I don’t know, call it what you will but he was doing something, and we’re still yet to figure out what it was. However. It was hypnotic/erratic. He just seemed so in tune with himself that you kinda went along with it, simply because of how much fun he looked like he was having, despite it being all by himself. It made a lot of sense while you were watching it. I would definitely look into going and seeing The Belligerents headlining their own show.
Finally, at 8:40, The Kooks were on stage. Now. If there’s one thing I honest to God couldn’t deal with in the Over 18’s section, was how bloody boring everyone was. You’d think, ‘Wow. I paid money to come and see these lovely dudes play some songs that I love, I’m gonna enjoy the show, have fun, dance.’? Right? Nah. We were literally some of the only people of our chairs, dancing, singing along and actually enjoying the concert. But enough about the whining.
So, considering this was their first headlined show after performing at Falls Festival over the new year’s ever weekend (we’d heard from one of my friend’s brother that they were one of the best bands there), the English band killed it. I mean, they opening with Eddie’s Gun, a song from their debut album, which seemed like a fitting way to start off the show. It was released in 2005, like I was only in my second year of primary school, 6 years old, but it still got everyone, especially those down in the mosh pit, pumped and cheering. Ooh La and Sofa Song followed, along the same lines, but still warming everyone up for the newer stuff.
Then Luke organised a literal crowd tribal chant to lead into Bad Habit, probably one of my favourite songs from the band. The band powered through a ton of songs (She Moves In Her Own Way, Do You Wanna, You Don’t Love Me, Shine On, Junk Of The Heart (Happy) a TON more), mixing through this feeling of nostalgia mixed with absolute chaos as we watched from above, people up on shoulders, the small nods of recognition they received from the lead singer, and the short, succinct banter between the band between some songs.
The set finished so quickly, it was like I blinked and they were heading down the ramp, off the stage. And that’s when the audience, those in the mosh pit, those up in the stands right in the back, the boring old folks up with us in the Over 18’s, everyone, descended into tribal insanity, I swear Festival Hall shook with demands for the encore.
Now my only idea is that they all literally crawled at a snail’s pace for a toilet break. That’s how long this gap was. I think I recall at least five attempts of the audience organising chants, either for the band to return to the stage, for the particularly popular song, Naive, or even just shouts of ‘encore’ in general. There was also the standard stamping like wildebeests and banging on chairs. Eventually, Luke reappeared, and serenaded the shit out of us all, performing Seaside all on his own. Considering the brewing anarchy moments beforehand, Festival Hall was so silent while he sang. Then the band joined him for Always Where I Need To Be, which pumped the audience up even more before finishing with the one we had all been waiting for Naive. I’ve never been so excited to finally hear a song as I was with this one. I felt like we’d been waiting the whole concert for this one, and the entire audience went crazy for it, even the grandparents in our section.
Overall, it was an incredible concert. The Belligerents were the perfect opening act for The Kooks, and The Kooks smashed any expectations I had out of the window. They were so amazing live, I’d go as far as to say they sounded better live than they do on record. The tiniest licks and deviations in their live performances, especially in Luke, the lead singer’s voice, made all the difference, and really fed into the amazing atmosphere they were able to create.
If you ever get the chance to see The Kooks perform live, whether it’s at a festival or their own headliner, I would 100% recommend it.