The Kooks live Review

Live Review: The Kooks at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion 20th January 2015


Photos by Alistair Rathbone

Review by Harry Ward


It’s been almost ten years since I got my hands on The Kooks’ debut album Inside In/Inside Out and had my faith restored in British Rock. Last night, I finally witnessed them live at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, and man, am I glad I waited to experience the new, funky version of the Brighton band.


Welsh Indie Rock act Catfish and the Bottlemen kicked things off. Presumably their first time in our fine country, these guys were ridiculously grateful to be touring with The Kooks in a foreign land. Even with a carefully crafted Brit Rock image, it’s always nice to see a band drop the ego and show the crowd some true gratitude. The music is reminiscent of The Pigeon Detectives and Stereophonics, comprised of a winning combination of Brit-grit and U.S stadium sounds. Sing along choruses all round. Catfish and the Bottlemen are definitely welcome upon our shores. Check out the interview with frontman Van McCann here.

The Griswolds followed and were welcomed by an established Sydney fan-base. The sea of teenage girls at the show seemed to know every lyric to The Courtship of Summer Preasley, a Triple J supported crowd-pleaser, but I certainly got the feeling that no one else was too phased. With half of this act now playing in The Vines, I realised that these guys aren’t stylistically developed yet. They sung a catchy line here and there, but I’d like to see The Griswolds mature musically in the future.


The Kooks hit the stage and wasted no time ploughing through an enormous catalogue of hits, starting off with Around Town. The latest album Listen took a step in a fun, cheesy and funky direction, which made A LOT more sense after hearing these songs live. See the World and Ooh La were soon to follow, a nice dose of nostalgia for the fans above the teenage bracket. As some questionable stock-image graphics flickered on the big screen back stage, The Kooks ripped through a succession of singles from the last four albums, the most entertaining of which were surprisingly from the new album. Forgive and Forget was packed to the brim with bombast and enthusiasm, whilst tracks like See Me Now brought out Luke Pritchard’s emotional balladeer side to great effect.

It has been amazing to see The Kooks transform from indie pin up boys to  fully fledged superstars, and their professionalism on stage and dedication to the songs themselves was an delectable treat for the more established fans such as myself. Gold stars all round.


An amazing performance of Sweet Emotion, which is obviously from the new album with such a textbook funk song-title. For a track so unusually produced on record, it sounded bloody special on stage, which is pretty rare.


Understandably, Luke Pritchard is bored of singing Seaside on stage, and he’s picked up several modifications to the song after years of performing it. Last night, he used all these modifications, instead of just playing the fucking song.


“Thank you” – every five seconds from Catfish and the Bottlemen’s Van McCann. Mama raised him right.




Alistair is the founder of Bear Family. Alistair resides in Melbourne and can be found wandering the streets searching for bargains and peppermint tea. Come and say Hi, he's nice.

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