LIVE REVIEW: The Kooks, The Snuts, O2 Academy Brixton, 18/02/22
Tramlines Festival 2021 marked the first live outing indie heroes The Kooks got to celebrate the momentous fifteen-year anniversary of their iconic debut album Inside In/Inside Out. “This is the first time we’ve managed to celebrate the birthday of our first album. I hope you remember this tune, sing it at the top of your lungs” comments Luke Pritchard on the cause for celebration for The Kooks at Tramlines Festival. They used their festival stage time to mark the momentous occasion for Inside In / Inside Out, performing a slew of the album’s smash singles such as Eddie’s Gun, Sofa Song, Ooh La, She Moves In Her Own Way, Jackie Big Tits, See The World and an acoustic Pritchard stripped-back solo of album opener Seaside; the indie soundtrack to the mid 2000’s on slick display in Sheffield. “Here’s another track from our first album. Keeping the nostalgia flowing” continues The Kooks frontman, wrapping up the reminiscent set with classic hit Naive, that infamous chorus “I know she knows that I’m not fond of asking/True or false, it may be, well, she’s still out to get me” being sung in synchronicity.
Fast forward eight months and The Kooks are just mere moments from walking on stage for the second night of three sold-out shows at London’s slanted floor of live music down at O2 Academy Brixton, nearing the end of wrapping up an accompanying extensive UK tour for their first album. Not even a storm sweeping the UK could stop the crowd flocking down to Brixton to rollick in their youthful exuberance and indie nostalgia. An anniversary a year delayed, but well worth the wait. The Kooks flirted with naivety, infatuation and falling in love; just like the lyrics of their debut album which still echo, maintain relevancy and transcend through the generations that both grew up with this album and those TikTok teens just discovering the world late noughties indie has to offer over a decade later.
Supported by The Snuts, a band on the cusp of coming up through the ranks and rising to becoming indie-rock royalty like the headliners of the night. With a number one debut album in W.L. under their West Lothian belts and continuously being booked for major tour support slots and massive global festivals, The Snuts showcased why this band are destined to follow in their peers’ footsteps.
Despite having just announced details of a release date for their upcoming sixth studio album 10 Tracks To Echo In the Dark on 22nd July and subsequently injecting new one Connection into the debut album heavy setlist, entrancing, captivating and teasing what’s to come of The Kooks since the release of their last full-length in 2018’s Let’s Go Sunshine. Tonight however, the room was transported into reminiscing of the year 2006 when on January 23rd 2006 The Kooks put out their first Inside In/Inside Out, an album that would go on to become a timeless, un-ageing and legacy leaving LP.
Captivating the room from the opening note and solo, Pritchard mutters out into the Brixton abyss, the echoes of “Do you want to go to the seaside?/I’m not trying to say that everybody wants to go/I fell in love at the seaside/I handled my charm with time and slight of hand” on opener Seaside gives goosebumps to 4,000 present and an injection of indie energy and excitement.
From here on in, it was a trip down memory lane for the next 90 minutes Inside In/Inside Out after Inside In/Inside Out tune rolling out one after the another, continuing with some of the albums most synonymous Sofa Song, Ooh La and She Moves In Her Own Way. These songs were all met with breezy sing-a-longs, joyful dance moves and radiant happiness all round, Pritchard’s comment of “It’s time to be back making connections” not being ignored. Unbreakable connectivity and community united in unity, looking back to ‘06.
Rounding off the retrospective evening in the only way that would be right to The Kooks both past and present, the bands smash single Naive waved a fond farewell that was dosed from start to finish in their first full-length album. That instantly recognisable opener “I’m not saying it was your fault/Although you could have done more/Oh, you’re so naïve yet so” never losing its magic spark it ignited all those years ago. Its audience reception never dimming and quieting, only loudening and the rush of euphoria only getting stronger sixteen years on, this show solidifying The Kooks in the higher echelons of the indie game, their mid-noughties high decades later still permanent.
Written by: Katie Conway-Flood