A lot of the people in the audience had grown up with The Kooks. They probably had their first kiss listening to "By My Side", got drunk for the first time in a club dancing to "Eddie's Gun", then had their hearts broken and listened to "Seaside" and "Love It All" for weeks on repeat. Five years on from the Kooks' debut album, Inside In/Inside out, they were seeking nostalgia. They got it in buckets.
The Brightonians belted through old favourites like "She Moves in Her Own Way", "Ooh La" and "Seaside" to much enthusiastic jiggling and arm-waving from the crowd at the sell-out gig. The final song was a more-rock-than-pop rendition of "Naive", a song that for me, and doubtless for the fans, is saturated in memories of dancing wildly until your limbs feel like they might fall off. And from the mosh pit to the upper circle, that's what the crowd were doing.
Lead singer Luke Pritchard didn't talk much. His aim seemed to be to pack as many hits into the 90-minute set as possible. With the slinky-hipped, slim-legged movements of a young Mick Jagger, he gave the gig a dynamism as he sashayed from the drums to a custom-made soapbox near the front of the stage.
The Kooks also introduced new songs from their third album, Junk of the Heart, which debuted at No 10 in the charts last month. They stormed through "Is It Me", "Rosie", "Mr Nice Guy", "Killing Me" and "Eskimo Kiss", all of which got the audience jumping, but not as much as the old hits.
Songs like "Is It Me" and "Eskimo Kiss" share the same indie-pop sound as the first album, and we were happy to bob along to them – not with the same fervour as the tried-and-tested tunes, but with an appreciative sway. "Mr. Nice Guy", with it's sage counsel "Don't believe in things that don't believe in you/ All the things that you do will come back on you", and a Kula Shaker-crossed-with-Arctic Monkeys sound got the warmest reception out of the band's new material.
That's not to say that the fans are going off the band – Kooks adulation abounded in Brixton – it's just that the new album tracks will take a while to become old favourites; over time, I suspect, the tracks from Junk of the Heart will become the soundtrack to some new, fond memories.Reuse content