The Kooks‘ first live appearance on UK soil in 2014 last night (May 3) brought to an end three days of live music at over more than 25 venues at this year’s Liverpool Sound City.
Coming on stage at half-past midnight to The Clash’s ‘Rock The Casbah’, the four-piece played an hour-long set inside the converted Duke Street Garage on Wolstenholme Square to a capacity 800 crowd – with scores more stuck outside. Wasting no time in giving the audience a taste of their new material, they opened their set with comeback single ‘Down’. It was one of five new songs from the group’s forthcoming album ‘Listen’, out September 1, with the bulk of the fresh material showcasing a less anthemic, more minimal, jagged sound.
‘Bad Habit’ incorporated rougher edges than the group are known for, while ‘Westside’ moved around a funky bassline, with Luke Pritchard’s voice reaching up to a falsetto. Scroll down to watch footage of the band’s performance of the track. ‘Forgive & Forget’ took on a similar pattern, with the singer yelping over tight Gang Of Four-esque post-punk guitar lines, while ‘Around Town’ perhaps had more in common with earlier Kooks material.
Pritchard was an energetic presence throughout, gesturing at fans to up the noise levels before ‘Always Where I Need To Be’ and covering every inch of the stage. Quipping to the crowd “I don’t know if we’ll remember this one” before launching into ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’, he and the band followed it straight up with the group’s first ever single, ‘Eddie’s Gun’. Pritchard also took a solo turn for an acoustic rendition of ‘Seaside’ mid-set, with the band finishing their performance with a mass sing-along greeting 2006 UK Top 5 single, ‘Naïve’.
Much of the night was disrupted for punters by large queues greeting them at most venues. The whole of Wolstenholme Square was closed off at one point as Jagwar Ma played Duke Street Garage, two hours before The Kooks. Opposite them, New York rappers Ratking enjoyed a healthy turnout thanks to the overspill from those who couldn’t get in for Jagwar Ma, while they played songs from their debut album, ‘So It Goes’.
The mysterious Jungle played The Factory to a cramped 150 people. The duo expanded to a seven-piece live, and were semi-obscured from vision by searing red stage lights. The crowd soon got moving, with the group dropping 2013’s much-hyped track ‘Platoon’ early on.
The evening’s programme kicked off at the grand Anglican Cathedral, with local talents Bird and All We Are attracting generous home support with prestigious slots at the vast venue.
The Kooks played:
‘Always Where I Need To Be’
‘Down To The Market’
‘Is It Me?’
‘She Moves In Her Own Way’
‘It Was London’
‘Junk Of The Heart (Happy)’
‘Forgive & Forget’