Leaving behind their grass-stained white skinny jeans and wardrobe staple trilbies, 2006’s indie contingency descend upon Alexandra Palace eleven years on to celebrate the ‘Best Of’ the scene’s ringleaders, The Kooks.
Triggering the show with ‘Eddie’s Gun’, and proceeding to blaze out hit after hit, tonight’s a stark reminder of just how many big guns this band have in their weaponry. Acknowledging the momentous occasion, frontman Luke Pritchard teases the crowd, “You’ve come for the hits, how many hits have we got?” before launching into uplifting pop belter ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’.
In contrast, ‘Pull Me In’ is an old B-side that also makes an appearance, “You might know it if you’re a hardcore fan, this was when we were living in Brighton, they were messy days,” the singer recalls introducing the track.
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‘Be Who You Are’ is a stomping nostalgic ode that proves the quartet still have their fingers firmly on the pulse. It sits seamlessly in the middle of the set, garnering just as much of a rapturous response as ‘Seaside’ and ‘Always Where I Need To Be’.
“How are you feeling, Al?” Luke toys with the north London crowd building up to acoustic-led number ‘Ooh La’. In between wielding a guitar in front of the 10,000 strong audience, the singer bounds around on stage full of an unrivalled puppy-esque energy. There’s a fizzing chemistry between the frontman and the rest of the band (guitarist Hugh Harris, bassist Peter Denton and drummer Alexis Nunez) proving the four-piece aren’t showing any signs of slowing down just yet.
‘See Me Now’ is a poignant moment, and the touching tribute to Luke’s late father is an overwhelming reminder of just how powerful music can be – there’s not a dry eye in the house as he delivers an emotive piano ballad alone on stage.
‘Around Town’ commences the encore with funky choir sensibilities and is completed with a tremendous outpouring of golden glitter across the crowd. Sentimental ‘Shine On’ bridges the gap between this and the climax of the evening, ‘Naïve’. It’s a song that soundtracks an abundance of sun-drenched memories for the majority of the room, so it’s only right that it ensues the most chaotic response of the night.
A little less ‘Westside’ and a little more North side, The Kooks reign supreme over Alexandra Palace, a venue fit for indie pop royalty like this.
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Words: Shannon Cotton
Photography: Ben McQuaide