The Kooks - Hordern Pavilion, Sydney

Written by Elisa Parry

The Kooks - Hordern Pavilion, Sydney

Wrapped up in skinny jeans, complete with the big hair and even bigger personality, Luke Pritchard is the ultimate frontman package. There is so much energy trapped in that lean frame. He dances as if it’s a game where his elbows and knees have to escape the rest of his body — fast, furtive and frantic. He borders on living up to his band’s name.

You can’t help but smile watching him, though. This is a man who clearly knows how to have a good time, and one who is more than happy to take his audience along for the ride. The set begins with Around Town off their most recent album, Listen. Its booming choral intro sets the tone for the night. “Oh, yeah,” indeed.

It’s clear The Kooks have brought their A-game to Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, packed full of adoring and — judging by the level of appreciation for some of their older tracks — long-term fans.

They start off with some of their fuller and funky hits off Listen, including Bad Habits and Down, with a cheeky Ooh La thrown in for old-time’s sake.

The band is beyond tight and Pritchard’s vocals are faultless. By the time they get to She Moves In Her Own Way, he’s got the entire crowd at his mercy and he plays to it, jumping up onto the speakers for further rapturous applause.

There’s not much banter. Polite chat is kept to a minimum. They have a lot of love for Australia. It’s pretty clearly reciprocated. But it’s back to business as they smash through a few more recent hits.

Things get taken down a notch for Seaside, with Pritchard alone on stage with a guitar. You can almost hear his voice over the crowd. Dreams also receives the acoustic treatment before the band join in again and Westside picks up the energy. Always Where I Need To Be and Forgive and Forget officially go off.

The break for the encore is brief. There’s really no mucking around with these guys. We kick off again with See Me Now followed by Junk Of The Heart (Happy) and, finally, to everyone’s immense satisfaction, Naïve.

It’s the perfect set list, and a perfect performance from a band who sure as hell knows what they’re doing. The near flawlessness is ironic, given their name, and we suspect they’re well aware.


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