The Kooks prove they’ve still got it at Middlesbrough’s Empire

The Kooks are one of the most consistent long-stays of the indie scene in the UK. Since their debut in 2006 they’ve delivered album after album of feel good sing along music made for being young and free.

Their debut famously came out on the same day as Arctic Monkeys’ Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and this fact makes for an interesting comparison of what The Kooks could have achieved and what could have been for Arctic Monkeys. But despite being the butt of a lot of critics’ jokes over the years, Luke Pritchard and co. couldn’t give a shit it would seem. The Kooks are here for a good time AND a long time so fuck you to the writer from The Times.

The Kooks are truly a band of the people, they use no fancy flairs to get critical attention, they just write obscenely good songs, even 12 years into their careers. The testament to how quite how good these songs still are was how every single song was embraced by the crowd at Middlesborough’s Empire Theatre on Sunday.

Opening on ‘Kids’ from new album Let’s Go, Sunshine there was no hesitation from the audience for new tracks. There’s songs from every one of the band’s five studio albums, taking the best of them all and weaving them into a patchwork of the band’s biggest and best tracks. There was even space to squeeze in ‘Always Where I Need to Be’ and ‘Chicken Bone’ which were absent from the setlist.

After 14 years in the game, I would imagine The Kooks have seen it all so nothing seemed to throw the band off focus, Luke Pritchard playing the crowd into the palm of his hand, serenading women on the balcony and throwing shapes any dad would be proud of. Everything WORKS like clockwork, Pritchard sings a line then throws a shape as he extends the mic out to the crowd for the next one and so on.

Love them or hate them (I still love them, fight me), you cannot deny that The Kooks are a fun night out. Put aside your music snobbery and tell me that belting out ‘Naive’ with your mates doesn’t make you feel sixteen again.

Listen to Let’s Go, Sunshine here.

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