The Kooks

with Toucan

After a long three and a half years since their last visit, Essex-based indie-pop superstars The Kooks have returned to Australia to play as a part of the Falls and Southbound festivals as well as embarking on a national tour in support of their latest album Junk Of The Heart. Despite some rather poor reviews, The Kooks popularity has evidently remained strong, with an incredibly long line of lucky ticket holders reaching for hundreds of metres around Sydney's Hordern Pavilion. The event was completely sold out and essentially every patron arrived for the rather early time of 6pm for the gates to open and for the rather anticipated support act.


Supporting The Kooks for their entire Australian tour, Sydney's very own Toucan were the first to grace the stage and were given the task of warming up the substantial amount of patrons who were wanting a good position for the Brits. Not only did they warm up the crowd, the indie trio essentially made the show their own and received an incredible reception from the crowd, far better than what a support act would normally receive.


As with all of Toucan's shows, vocalist Jess Pollard brought her beautifully powerful vocal ability and also a fun and involving energy that most bands fail to bring to their performance. It's the smaller details which can separate the normal from the best and from fairly simple things like casual audience conversation and encouragement that got the audience to fall in love with their subtle charm. Toucan were the perfect support for a band like The Kooks, their brightness and exuberance matched the event perfectly and saw a whole new fan base being formed right in front of their eyes.


By the time that it was time for The Kooks to being, the Hordern Pavilion was (excuse the poor television reference) packed to the rafters, with both the standing and seating sections completely full of Kooks fans.


Under normal circumstances, audiences have a tendency to scream as loud as they can when a band comes out to play, but there was an almost painfully loud scream for The Kooks entrance onto stage from the five and a half thousand fans. Bursting straight into hit mode, Luke Pritchard and his merry men started strong with the power-charged 'Always Where I Need To Be,' sending the crowd into an


instant frenzy, but then again, almost anything that Pritchard did on stage was received to thunderous applause as if he were some sort of cult leader. With a British accent, cute swagger and charming attitude, Pritchard made every single woman (and a few men) at the concert feel as if they were being intimately serenaded and there were certainly the screams to suggest that the crowd enjoyed themselves.


After receiving a fair amount of criticism about their latest album Junk Of The Heart, The Kooks set out to prove their critics wrong and ensure that everyone can still rely on their live performances as a true rock experience. It was certainly fair to say that they exceeded the expectations of everyone there, pulling out a perfect concert, their energy and enthusiasm was astounding and musically, their performance was as tight as The Kooks have ever been.


From heavily distorted electric guitars, to the soft quaint organ tones, each member of The Kooks experimented on different instruments and seemed to master each with such precision, ruling out most of their critics who claim their music as "basic" or "naïve" funnily enough.


Alongside the performance, kudos must be sent to the way of whoever designed the lighting for the show. Sure some bands can promote a quality live show without elaborate lighting and visual effects, but without doubt, the outstanding lighting display that was put on at this concert, made the show that much more impressive. It was synchronised to perfection and truly was very impressive.


As a whole, the 90 minute set was filled with basically every one of The Kooks single releases and was somewhat predictable, but they were chosen for a reason, they are just simply entertaining. Crowd favourites ( again fairly predictable) were 'Naïve,' 'She Moves In Her Own Way' and the more recent 'Junk Of The Heart (Happy),' which certainly made everyone have something to smile about. These English gentlemen are welcome anytime back to our shores as they can put on one of the most enjoyable live sets around and are too charming for their own good.

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