English indie rock band The Kooks performed on Tuesday night to a packed house at the legendary Hollywood Palladium. The band is touring in support of their latest album Let’s Go Sunshine, which marks their fifth studio album and also their first release in over four years.
To say the energetic crowd was anxious to see their favorite lads take the stage would be an understatement. But before that moment would come, the night started off with two opening acts.
First up was FUTURE FEATS, who I unfortunately did not make it in time to catch. I heard great things about them so I was bummed to miss their set. Luckily I was there in time to experience the next act, fellow English singer/song writer Barns Courtney, who blew me away with his performance. The folk rock singer got the party started with his gritty vocals, infectious guitar riffs, and swagger that brought to mind the presence of legends like Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger. Whatever the ‘it’ is that so many musicians aspire to achieve…this kid’s got it!
Hook, line and sinker! He had the crowd entranced the entire time. Stand out songs were “Golden Dandelions” “99” “Kicks” “Fire” and “Glitter and Gold.” The last two have both been featured on TV shows, movies and ads worldwide so there’s a good chance you may have already heard the music of Barns Courtney. But to be safe and not miss out on the next big thing, do yourself a favor and check him out. We keep hearing all this buzz about Greta Van Fleet reviving the rock and blues scene but I gotta say, Barns Courtney may be the artist we’ve been unknowingly waiting for to really get that fire started. I imagine it won’t be long before he is headlining shows of his own, as he sure did deliver a headline worthy performance. Bravo Barns, Bravo!
As the lights raised, fans pushed up against the barricades to get closer to the stage and cheered wildly, awaiting the final act. The Kooks wasted no time giving the crowd what they wanted and started the set off with a bang, playing the fierce and fast paced track “Eddie’s Gun” from their debut album Inside In/ Inside Out. The song was the perfect intro to get the crowd fully hyped and set the scene for what was to come- a night filled with fan favorites, hits and singles from all of their albums, and of course a good number of new tracks.
Front man Luke Pritchard ditched his guitar for the second song, “Always Where I Need to Be” from 2008’s album Konk. He danced around the stage playfully, swaying his hips and teasing the crowd by reaching his arms out and singing up close to the many adorning fans who probably camped out hours early to have that front row spot. Yep, they were loving every second of it. For the third song, they dove into a new tune, “All The Time.” The crowd seemed to be digging it, but to be honest, for me there was something about the song (mostly the chorus) that felt a bit too generic and cookie cutter for my liking. But the band pulled me right back in, with the breezy swoons of “She Moves In Her Own Way,” a song that showcases their melodies and pure Brit pop-ness. The crowd was clapping, dancing and singing right along, moving in their own way with not a worry in the world.
The band continued to treat the crowd with a slew of favorites, including “You Don’t Love Me” “Ooh La” “Bad Habit” “Sweet Emotion” and “Junk Of The Heart” as well as a handful of new tracks such as “Kids” “Chicken Bone” “Pamela” and “Four Leaf Clover” On another new track titled, “No Pressure,” Pritchard croons out “We’re just having a good time, honey, No need to apply, No pressure” and the sentiment of that chorus mirrored the ambience of the evening. Everyone in the crowd was there, just having a good time, watching one of their favorite bands who have been providing their fans good times for over 10 years now. The band
expressed their gratitude towards their LA fans and thanked the fans for coming out. Pritchard is a great front man. Charming and engaging. Whenever he wasn’t playing his guitar, he was rocking out on stage and playing off the energy of the crowd and encouraging fans to clap and sing along.
Towards the end of the show, they slowed things down for an intimate performance of acoustic song “Seaside” with Pritchard performing solo in the middle of the stage. It was a sweet moment hearing the crowd sing along, almost drowning out Pritchard completely. The audience swayed back and forth, holding up their candles- aka their cell phone flashlights – and I even saw some couples in the back slow dancing. They picked things back up with the bright and cheerful tune “Junk of the Heart” whose lyrics, once again, paralleled the joy the crowd displayed, hearing all these nostalgic jams. “ I want to make you happy, I want to make you feel alive..”
The Kooks were definitely making their fans feel just that.
The band took a quick break and returned for an encore that ended with the obvious song choice, their biggest hit “Naive.” The Palladium became one big dance floor. The fans cheered and hollered, excited to hear their favorite song live. The energy was at an all time high for the night. Everyone seemed so happy and that’s what makes The Kooks such a great band, their ability to just make you smile with their infectiously catchy tunes. The Kooks performance proved that after 10 years, they still have more to deliver and aren’t going away any time soon.
Words and photos by Betsy Martinez