On Tuesday night, to a packed crowd of swooning underage girls and avid fans, The Kooks played the show the fans deserved: a set with carnal stage antics and well curated from top to bottom.
The Kooks are one of those bands that never disappoints. In many ways, their live show is everything that a live show should be. Luke Pritchard, frontman, effortlessly works the crowd, like a hot knife cutting through butter. His strut and beckoning gestures, like a few wags of the tongue, had the crowd glued to him for what seemed like the whole set.
Despite the fact that Pritchard can make it from one edge of the stage to the other with a few quick leaps, his voice is completely unaffected. That goes for multi-instrumentalist and back up vocalist, Hugh Harris’, harmonies that he fits between catchy guitar melodies in signature fashion. Additionally, The Kooks backlog sounds different thanks to the bands ability to improvise, like Pritchard’s spin on the hooks for “Ooh La” and “Westside”.
A testament to The Kooks set arrived five songs in with “Bad Habit”, a song off of the band’s latest release, Listen. The crowd barely had to be walked into the anathematic chant in the song. If it wasn’t 100% crowd participation, it was very close.
Even though the crowd knew The Kooks were returning for an encore, lighters were lifted into the steamy air. All of the lighters went up into the air at the same time, which made the whole gesture feel less cliché and more natural. The Kooks returned to the stage with their huge red and black banner to their back to play three more songs, including “Naïve”, a track from 2006.
The encore took a more solemn tone when Luke got behind the piano and his bandmates left the stage. “See Me Now”, is a heartbreaking letter to from Pritchard to father who has passed. With out a doubt, he would be proud.
The Kooks, supporting their September 8th release, Listen, checked off number nine out of 11 on their tour in Philadelphia at Union Transfer.