The Kooks energize the House of Blues

A review of The Kooks at the House of Blues on November 19, 2011

, Managing Editor

After some publicized troubles during the recording sessions for their third album, Junk of the Heart, particularly with producer Jim Abyss, England’s The Kooks are currently on a US tour which made its way to Boston’s House of Blues for a sold out show on Saturday night where they proved that they have no problems while on stage.

The Kooks Britpop sound is perfect for a place like Boston, as they easily drew in the city’s college and ex-pat crowd. Starting at an early set time of 8 o’clock, they were even able to fill the room right at showtime in a town notorious for late arrivals.

Known for their guitar pop, The Kooks have broadened their sound on the new album, as was apparent in the electronic beat of new tune “Runaway” and the organ-y synth and shifting time of “The Saboteur”, an iTunes bonus track for Junk of the Heart.

The songs of Junk of the Heart aren’t quite as peppy and pop-heavy as the band’s previous two releases, which have boasted cheery hits like “Always Where I Need to Be” and “She Moves in Her Own Way”, but free-ranging frontman Luke Pritchard made sure there was plenty of energy packed into each performance. Pritchard is every bit your classic Britpop star, from his slender frame and shaggy ‘do to his showmanship and his reported beefs with some fellow English rockers. The lively lead singer took to roaming the most while free of his guitar duties on tracks like “Matchbox” and “If Only” as he danced about the platform at the front of the stage.

The show went by at lightning speed. Even when they slowed things down for Pritchard’s solo take on “Seaside” and the all-acoustic “Tick of Time” the pace barely seemed to slow. Although, not surprising considering the band’s catalogue rarely consists of a song over four minutes. The Kook’s closest thing to a jam came just before the encore in the form of “Do You Wanna”, a dancey track that was aided by a flashy lightshow.

The Kooks records and performances certainly have an entertainment value, but neither their shows nor records are the quality that will shed the indie feel to the band. It seems the band has the potential to do so, especially Pritchard, who appears destined for a grander stage, but whether they reach that potential is still unknown at this point. Although, selling out clubs is not a bad way to make a living either.

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