The Kooks at the House of Blues

If you were walking down the street, he may look like just another pubescent skinny hipster wearing tight jeans up to his belly button and a head of curls. But onstage at the House of Blues this past Saturday night, Luke Pritchard, the lead singer and guitarist of the English indie rock band The Kooks, transformed into a classic English rock star. He truly epitomizes the saying “confidence is key”.

After fantastic sets from Louisiana’s Royal Teeth and local band Mean Creek, The Kooks took the stage to the Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage” blasting from the speakers, a tribute to the late Adam “MCA” Yauch.

Boston was the first stop on their U.S. tour. Here to promote their latest album Junk of the Heart, released last year, they knew better than to disappoint fans by ignoring their older hits.

The band, consisting of Pritchard, lead guitarist Hugh Harris, drummer Paul Gerrad, and bass guitarist Max Rafferty, left no time to breathe as each song followed the other back-to-back. Starting the show with the energetic “Always Where I Need to Be”, Pritchard quickly ripped off his tribal printed sweater and got the crowd going by bouncing around the stage like a little boy on his birthday. In “Runaway”, a new track off their latest album, he showcased not only his falsetto range but his signature short yelps into the mic.

The show was crisp. The only time Pritchard stopped to talk to the audience was before a three song acoustic set when he said, “I’m a bit stoned.” The young crowd laughed and cheered as he continued on to say “We were just in Jamaica, but bloody hell.”

With the rest of the band offstage, Pritchard stood on a platform on the far side of the stage and complied when he heard a request for “Jackie Big Tits.” And of course, three chords into “Seaside”, everyone began cheering as he said “enjoy it now.”

They did a great job of mixing the old in with the new, as they brought the fans back with “Ooh La” only to break into “How’d You Like That”, the first single off their latest album with a loud and rocking piano part.

Although the band stayed true to their song’s album versions, they did switch it up a little during “Do You Wanna”, evolving into an instrumental jam, complete with psychedelic lights flashing and reverb created echoes.

Their encore was also much more experimental than the rest of the concert as Pritchard sat down on the piano and messed with his vocal reverb during “Sabateur”.

The effortless blend of new and old tracks proved that That Kooks haven’t lost it, and their British invasion into the U.S. has only just begun. Taking on New York City this week, they’re then continuing down South and out West as special guests to Foster the People in cities across the country. They will be at this year’s Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee in June.

By Kathryn Barnes

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