Pouring rain is bad for a concert is what they try and tell us. Standing out in that rain, anticipation growing as sound check can be heard in the distance says otherwise. The rain can wash away many things however the one thing it can’t see the back of is the growing number of fans braving the weather and looking forward to a great night.
The Kooks promised to entertain and tagging along with them for this tour are our very own Sydney rockers The Griswolds and Welsh band Catfish and the Bottlemen. With the Brisbane crowd, looking beautiful in their colourful ponchos might I add filling the wet Riverstage venue, the night was ready to get underway.
Catfish and the Bottlemen were very eager to get the night started in the best way possible as they burst onto the stage making a statement right away. Connecting with the crowd was a prominent feature during this very impressive set and they would have surely earned themselves a lot of new fans. With an extraordinary vocal range there was no way anybody inside the venue could not be paying attention. With a natural ability to perform and connect with the crowd Catfish and the Bottlemen are the sort of band you want on your tour, a great start to the night.
Next up to take their place on the stage were The Griswolds who are ever growing in popularity all around the country and beyond. By now the crowd had grown in size at a remarkable speed and The Griswolds were playing to a very big and very excited crowd and they didn’t put a foot wrong at all. Producing a wonderful and complete performance, their set also included a very loud “Happy Birthday” for drummer Lachlan West which set the tone for the rest of the night. Highlights throughout The Griswolds set were the bands cover of Vance Joy’s Hottest 100 winning ‘Riptide’ as well as fan favourites ‘Heart of a Lion’ and ‘Beware The Dog’. These boys done everything in their power to have the crowd even more pumped for the arrival of The Kooks and if you are smart, you will catch them at a show whenever possible.
Finally it was time for what everyone was looking forward to, the moment that we had all stood out in the rain for. The Kooks were up on stage and they had a clear and instant impact on the packed in crowd. The energy that these lads produce when up on that stage is second to none. I was expecting a brilliant performance, and I was still surprised by just how amazing this band is live.
Starting out with a great mixture between first and last albums, fans were given a taste of everything that they love. As mentioned, the energy is just indescribable as they raced through eight tracks before finally slowing it down with the always popular Seaside with front man Luke Pritchard admitting “I never thought we would be playing that ten years on” followed by an acoustic performance of ‘Dreams’.
With the full band back out on stage, they continued on with some performances that truly highlighted just how much they have to offer. I have been to a lot of concerts, and I can come pretty close to saying that this is the best performance I have seen. Of course that is a big thing to say, however it is not said lightly. Giving it everything they have would be an understatement for what they gave to us, as the crowd was left begging for more when the band left the stage after ‘Forgive & Forget’.
Off stage for what would have been only just over a minute, the crowd was gifted what I judge the performance of the night – and one of the greatest ever performances I have seen in my life. The ever emotional ballad ‘See Me Now’ which is written as a letter to Luke’s father who passed away when he was young. To be part of a crowd that is singing lyrics that mean so much to the performer and quite possibly a lot of others inside the venue is something that truly gives you goosebumps.
With the encore slowly coming to an end, it was well known what songs were to come and the crowd were ready. Finishing the night with two clear fan favourites Junk of the ‘Heart’ and ‘Naive’, the night came to an end in an incredible way with some amazing tunes. It’s a great thing to see how a crowd reacts when they know the show is ending – it is a moment that is filled with both sadness and happiness. Upset that the night is coming to an end, overpowered by the joy that the night has given to you.
Whatever price it costs you and whatever travel it requires, if you have the chance of seeing The Kooks live you should be taking full advantage of it. There was not one moment throughout this show that I regretted my attendance or even considered being anywhere else. Well worth waiting in the pouring rain, well worth destroying my shoes for, well worth anything in the world. The Kooks are one of the best bands you can ever wish to see and whenever we are lucky enough to have them back – I will see you there.