Nothing like a “Rock the Casbah” walk out to get a crowd truly pumped, not to mention the quirky and energised opening performance from The Belligerents.
The expansive floor of the Hordern Pavilion was packed as the lights dimmed and The Kooks cooly cruised on stage – fluffed hair, skinny jeans, and all. Portraying the typical look of British Indie Rockers, the vibe was set and the crowd of long-term fans was ready for a ‘Best Of’ show.
After a quick welcome to the Sydney crowd, the band kicked off the night with “Eddie’s Gun” from their 2006 album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ followed by “Sofa Song”. The impeccable and distinguished vocals from frontman Luke Pritchard did not disappoint and the crowd was eager to sing and dance along.
The strobes flashed as the setlist winded down a path of hits like, “Be Who You Are”, “Ooh La”, “Bad Habit”, and “Down”. If a member of the crowd wasn’t already dancing along, they were now shoved up against another sweaty body, jumping to the blaring speakers.
Pritchard’s vocals truly showed their unique character once he took the stage solo for “See Me Now”, to honour his late father. The intimate setup showcased his authentic talent along with his ability to singlehandedly enrapture an entire audience, as shining phone screens and an array of lighters flickered in the air.
Once the band returned, they continued on with songs “Matchbox”, “Sway”, “See the World”, and “Shine On”. With obvious and well-loved hits excluded from the setlist, the band bid the crowd farewell, but not before jamming to “Junk of the Heart”. Dimmed lights and all, the crowd was not fooled and the full house remained, eager for a few more songs.
Returning to the stage solo, Prichard was welcomed with a resounding applause, spurring him to smash out an incredible rendition of “Seaside”. Pritchard jokily admitted that they had “forgot a few songs” and was quickly joined on stage by the rest of the band. An ideal encore performance with “Always Where I Need to Be” and “Naive” followed to close out the show.
Sentiment filled the air and the concert-goers left feeling an aura of nostalgia as they flooded from the arena. Eager fans clamoured for the merch tent as the remaining crowd slowly dispersed, sweaty and humming along to their favourite tracks from the night.
Photos by Lars Roy.