Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Kooks! (Troubadour, Los Angeles, 2.7.08)

This sold-out show at the Troubadour was somewhat of a love fest, the rare occasion when friendships were made, and all sorts of “nice meeting you”s could be heard swirling about the audience. In truth, though, it's impossible to watch a band like the Kooks and not wear a big cheesy grin, or get the sudden desire to approach other people with similar looks of bliss.

Prior to the Kooks' headlining set, for which recently departed bassist Max Rafferty and his stunned face were replaced by a boyish Dan Logan (of fellow Brighton band Cat the Dog), bay area pop group the Morning Benders played to a nearly-full house. Their rhythm section was surprisingly bluesy for a band that plays mostly standard indie pop; guitarist Joe Ferrell also managed to stay organized despite having an array of five pedals to choose from, and looked fabulously ghoulish while hunched over his Rhodes. The Morning Benders will fit beautifully in a lineup with Kelley Stoltz at Noise Pop this year.

But oh, those Kooks. They tested out some of the upcoming Konk, including uncharacteristically danceable track “Do You Wanna (Make Love to Me),” which prompted several female fans up front to respond in the affirmative. Drummer Paul Garred, ever the British reggae fan, donned an English Beat shirt and offered up his best Steward Copeland impression on (my personal favorite) “Time Awaits,” while lead guitarist Hugh Harris, unlike Luke Pritchard, did not manage to ruin any guitar strings.

As for Pritchard, he's an odd personality, the hippie who relishes fame, prancing about with his acoustic guitar like he's concluding Harold and Maude atop a grassy hill. His voice still cracks all over the place, but that's why girls adore him. And yes, a healthy number of screams stemmed from the crowd's female fans; it was also that crop of girls who made sure to get a hand on any leg or arm available while he walked about the monitors. He didn't seem to mind, though when the girl next to me yelled for his attention as he tried to lead a song, he looked over with a confused “'ello?” and accepted the follow-up “I love you!” with a quiet humility. Such is the day in the life of a heartthrob, aye?

Somehow, the group actually managed an energy peak at set's end, following Pritchard's solo encore performances of “Seaside” and “Jackie Big Tits” with a full-band, electric version of “Sofa Song.” It wasn't until this encore, additionally, that whispers started up in the air, and fingers began going up, due to the sudden realization that Courtney Love had been sitting up on the balcony, also watching this band that the rest of us were...ah...kooky for.

The Kooks - Time Awaits
A teaser before you pre-order Konk.
Watch Luke Kook woo the ladies. Here and here.


m0joe said...

I definitely saw guys screaming to Luke during the set. The Kooks - 2/7/2008 @ The Troubadour

China said...

I couldn't hear too many guys - I was squished between a lot of vocal girls (and next to the one who interrupted the start of a song with a ridiculously loud "I love you"). Although, going off of your pictures, it looks like we were in opposite sides of the floor, which might have made a difference. Tschus!

Stephen said...

China! Have you seen Sleeveface?

China said...

I haven't until now, though that definitely reminds me of Steve Martin in "Roxanne." The Big Black record under Feb. 11 is nice.

Drew G said...

They were on Conan last night. Front guy looked like he could have used a guitar to hold, he seemed a little awkward without one.

China said...

Awkward? Nah, that's just how he dances. He looked pretty rock star-ish on Conan, though. I think it was the sweater.