It seems nearly impossible to get bored at a Kooks concert.
The Brighton (as in Britain) band pours the Beatles through an Arctic Monkeys filter, then drinks the remains and burps up bits of the Doors, the Cure, Franz Ferdinand, the Fratellis, the Strokes and every so often, a little White Stripes.
Part of the fun is trying to decide who they sound like, song by song. But ultimately, the quartet manages to meld it all into its own thing, and that’s what made it even more rewarding to see them live Tuesday night at the Ogden Theatre.
What also became clear as the night went on is that, although their foppish hair and winning grins and super-hot accents are what endears them to teenage girls, the reason the place was filled with more aging yuppies than young puppies is that this is the band we all half-heartedly threatened to start in our own garages at one point, the one that was going to pull a little from all the groups we grew up with.
The Kooks actually followed through on that, though, and while they’ve never really broken any new ground, the combination of it all gives it a fresh feel, even more so live. They threw themselves into every tune, even the acoustic ballads, and their energy and enthusiasm made it that rare show that was over in the blink of an eye.
For instance, just before the slower “Sway,” from their second release “Konk,” lead guitarist/vocalist Luke Pritchard told us it was time to go get a drink, and at most concerts, there would be at least one lull when folks are chatting or texting. But at this show, it was tough to take a break. Not even during Pritchard’s solo, and quite delightful, acoustic version of “Seaside” did a significant exodus occur.
While Pritchard doesn’t quite move like Jagger, he gets around as much as Mick does, and the two-foot-wide steel beam assembled across the front of the stage was for his aerobic step workout. That combined with his strong vocals and the driving guitar work from Hugh Harris – which live came across as far meatier here than on any of their recordings – made for an entertaining evening.
It helped that the band – rounded out by Paul Garred on drums and Peter Denton on bass – mixed it up in terms of older material and music from their latest effort. It was no surprise that the popular sing-alongs “She Moves in Her Own Way” and “Ooh La,” both off their debut “Inside In/Inside Out,” were especially spirited, but then “Rosie” was a rousing, rockabilly-style crowd-pleaser from the new release “Junk of the Heart,” and its “Junk of the Heart (Happy)” was one of three ideal ways – along with the funky, psychedic “The Saboteur” and a snappy “Naïve” – to end the show.
“Ah, you’re so lovely,” Pritchard told us in that oh-so-British way.
You, too, you Kooks. You too.
Is It Me
Always Where I Need to Be
She Moves in Her Own Way
Tick of Time
How’d You Like That
Do You Wanna
Junk of the Heart (Happy)
Kyle Wagner is a regular contributor to Reverb and travel editor at The Denver Post.
Nathan Iverson is a Denver photographer and regular contributor to Reverb.