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29/04/08 - Edinburgh Corn Exchange
Ok, so The Kooks arenâ€™t the coolest band to profess to have seen at one of their gigs. But I wasnâ€™t the only person there at their sold-out gig at the Corn Exchange, Edinburgh. The crowd was buzzing with excitement and were eagerly awaiting the performance of the recent album chart number one. The audience varied from chavs to Rahs, screaming girls, Pritchard wannabes with trilbies alike, and people as old as my parents: The Kooks have certainly worked magic with the music on a grand-scale, reaching out to all different sorts of fans from the nation.
As we edged our way into the diverse masses the crowd (or I should say the fifteen-year-old girls in the crowd) screamed during the silences between the poorly-mixed indie tape; young men shouted for their idols while simultaneously chatting up any being with a skirt on within grasp.
The interlude finished and the clinical Corn Exchange went dark as the iconic neon sign â€œKooksâ€ shone brightly in the top right hand corner of the stage, which produced images of a dark back alley lit by a sign for the nearest lap-dance bar in my mind. I am not entirely sure that this was the image The Kooks were trying to project, but it is an image that is darker and edger than their early days.
Pritchard and his gang of likely lads trooped onto stage in full indie gear and immediately sprung into the opening of the first single of the new album Konk, â€œAlways Where I Need To Beâ€. The opening electric chords sent girls screaming, parents applauding and young men pogo-ing to the front, while expertly singing out of tune to every word which, in parts, drowned out Pritchardâ€™s vocals.
The band played all of the â€œclassicsâ€ off their debut album, Inside In/ Inside Out, which was met with fervour from the audience, as well as an Oasis-esque sing-along performance with both band and crowd performing for each other.
Their summer classic, â€œNaÃ¯veâ€, received the greatest response and even I found myself getting into the pop spirit, singing and jumping along with an increasingly hot and sweaty crowd. Pritchard then attempted to give the crowd a break with the notorious acoustic track â€œOne Last Timeâ€ from their latest album. Pritchard seemingly enjoyed bleating out his â€œabcdâ€ lyrics while the full spotlight was on him, while the crowd swayed and sang along, boosting his ego to a new height.
After an extensive set of both the first and the second album the band left the stage pronouncing, in Pritchardâ€™s lispy voice, â€œThanks a lot, weâ€™re The Kooksâ€ (just as a reminder) and exited the stage. The crowd, still wanting more of the carbon copy music screamed, â€œWe want The Kooks!â€ Pritchard granted his fansâ€™ request by appearing solitary on stage, but for an acoustic guitar, for the encore in an unflattering white vest.
Pritchard, tentatively, began the infamous chords to their debut opener, â€œ Seaside â€, which for its acoustic brilliance was ruined by Pritchardâ€™s shaky voice, stiff chord changing and the X-Factor style vocals of the whole crowd. Still it allowed me to reminisce about a fantastic holiday with friends in Newquay, summer 06â€™.
Pritchard was joined by the rest of The Kooks for the closing two songs; â€œJackie Big Titsâ€ and â€œSofa Songâ€. They then left the audience in the dark again, only to be mesmerised by the neon â€œKooksâ€ sign.