At the end of a band’s tour, it can either go two ways. It can be either a group of bumbling members barely able to hold their guitars up, or an outfit that know how the game works and pulls off a memorable final show. The Kooks certainly did the latter.
The evening began with their first support act, Hidden Charms, who sprayed a 60s’ rock scent throughout their set and pricked many of the listener’s ears up. As their set came to an end, a silhouette of The Kooks frontman, Luke Pritchard appeared and caught the attention of fangirls in the crowd which got the ball rolling for what already seemed like a promising night.
The Kooks have been away for a week due to a death in the family and devoted fans discussed this to pass the time in the wintery queue that formed before the doors opened. As the band came on with lights that could give Blackpool illuminations a run for its money, Pritchard said, “Tonight we celebrate the death Hugh’s (lead guitarist) father.” That’s exactly what they did.
Bursting in with the golden oldies like She Moves In Her Own Way and Shine On would have been enough for the mainstream fans, but adding in new tracks like Creature of Habit took it to a different level. The psychedelic urges in everyone came out as everyone swayed as the floating synths and harmonies flew around the room. The four piece then crashed in a few of the raunchy tunes from their latest album Listen, with tracks like Bad Habit. Pritchard’s raspy voice carved into a soulful hitting bass was enough to get people on shoulders.
Midway the lights went down and a spotlight appeared surrounding a piano. Pritchard took his time to be seated for See Me Now, which was written for his father who passed away when he was a child, but became relevant for the tragic news they recently received. After playing the beautiful raw song, guitarist Hugh Harris and Pritchard shared a moment together which can only be described as a strong brotherly love.
The room lit up again with flowery, up beat songs like Junk Of The Heart and to finish it off explosions of confetti covered the room like snow as Forgive and Forget blasted out. The entire Forum shook as fans jumped and cheered their love for the four piece.
As the band walked off Pritchard stood at the mike, put his arms up and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll be back soon, we love you all”. And there wasn’t one person there who didn’t believe him.
Words by Sam Rees