Concert Review: The Kooks

Photo Courtesy of The Kooks

The Kooks played to a packed crowd at the House of Blues on Feb. 29

By Tyler Sivero

The Kooks
House of Blues San Diego
February 29, 2012

Over the years The Kooks have continued to maintain their status as an essential band to anyone who follows the music scene. Their alternative, indie rock style of music varies from fast pace rock, acoustic sing-a-longs to slower ballads. As for me, I have listened to The Kooks for over four years now. This should be noted with the fact that they have been releasing albums since 2005. This was the first time the band had made their way to the states for a tour in almost four years.

This past Wednesday, Feb. 29, I had the opportunity to go to one of their shows at the House of Blues in San Diego. It was my first chance to see a full show where they were the headliners. The opening band, Yawn (ironic name for an opener), did an okay job at getting the crowd hyped with their electronic, MGMT-style music. After their set, it seemed like any excitement that Yawn had produced was increased tenfold as everyone eagerly cheered at any change in house music or lighting in anticipation. When they finally did appear the crowd erupted.

The band opened with “Is It Me,” a song from their new album Junk of the Heart, which was released in September 2011. Even though the song is not necessarily one of their most popular, the crowd happily greeted it with dancing and singing. Any leftover anticipation for some classic Kooks was satisfied with their next fast, upbeat and catchy hit song “Always Where I Need To Be.” The band fed off the energy of the crowd as Luke Pritchard, the lead singer, walked along the speakers at the front of the stage and pointed to specific audience members. For a band that comes all the way from England they put on a highly energetic and entertaining show that left the audience feeling as if they had a connection with the band.

Part of this was in part due to their choice of set list order. Although they are touring in support of their new album, it has become strongly apparent that the new album lacks what the old ones had. However, by making sure to play an oldie without letting too many songs from the new album go by, the band kept the crowd interested. Also, on many songs, the guitarist would take an unexpected solo or the band would repeat a verse more times than on the album’s version. The band did a good job at keeping the chorus and the better-known parts of the song the same while still leaving some room to improvise and show off.

About halfway through the show the band left but Luke stayed on stage. He proceeded to stand on a corner speaker and play “Seaside” one of the bands most acoustic and slow songs. Still, it is definitely a favorite of many and Luke did not disappoint. A spotlight came down and the speakers elevated him to appear as if he was slightly over the front row’s heads. Much later in the show the entire band left the stage. But then after a short but loud period of cheering they returned for an encore. The band started the encore with “The Saboteur,” a new song that was not released on their recent new album. Their hit sing-a-long song followed this from the same album – “Junk of the Heart (Happy)”. This was intensely greeted by the crowd as every one sang along and danced around. Finally, The Kooks wished everyone a good night and thanked the crowd before playing one of their most respected hits “Naïve.”

I had heard The Kooks were a great band to see live and they definitely did not disappoint. The crowd was constantly into the music and there wasn’t a dull moment. The Kooks have continued to produce great music and I look forward to what is to come from them in the future. I would recommend any lover of music to go see one of their shows.


Set List:

“Is It Me”

“Always Where I Need To Be”

“Sofa Song”

“Down To The Market”


“She Moves In Her Own Way”



“Stormy Weather”

“If Only”

“Tick of Time”

“How’d You Like That”

“Mr. Nice Guy”

“Ooh La”

“Shine On”

“Do You Wanna”




“The Saboteur”

“Junk of The Heart (Happy)”