The Kooks were booked to play on Hastings Pier at the height of their first burst of success, back in August 2006, after the release of their debut album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’.
That gig was unfortunately cancelled when Hastings Borough Council deemed the structure of the pier to be unsafe, and shut it to the public.
Hastings Pier didn’t reopen until 2016, so it was a relief to finally see the band at a local venue, albeit 12 years later.
It was certainly worth the wait, as the band were on fine form.
Judging by the average age of the audience I doubt that many of them were old enough to have been aware of The Kooks back in 2006, let alone attend one of their gigs.
The band have had a bit of a resurgence of popularity recently, with the release of new album ‘Let’s Go Sunshine’, which no doubt accounts for a lot of those new fans, many of whom seemed to have come along with their parents, fans from back in 2006 themselves maybe?
From the opening number ‘Kids’ it was evident that The Kooks are a band who know exactly what they are doing when it comes to performing to an audience, albeit one that was eating out of the palms of their hands from the very first note.
They exude professionalism, stage craft and charisma, especially frontman Luke Pritchard, who has a touch of Mick Jagger and Michael Hutchence about him, no bad thing.
An early outing for ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ put the obligatory camera phones to good use, and had the near capacity crowd singing along heartily, a theme repeated right through the performance.
Playing songs from across their musical career, the momentum was kept to a maximum throughout, and the in-between song gaps kept to a minimum.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a guitarist change guitars so many times during a set, often in the middle of a song.
The use of lights that were often trained onto the audience encouraged the involvement of the crowd, a nice touch, and one that worked perfectly.
A nice interlude was provided by Luke Pritchard singing ‘Seaside’ with just an acoustic guitar for company, a song almost guaranteed to get a coastal audience singing along, which it did, even before the song had actually started.
‘Junk of The Heart (Happy)’ concluded the 70 minute main set.
The Kooks certainly didn’t outstay their welcome, they just delivered the songs the audience wanted to hear, and left it at that.
Exactly as it should be, and something some other bands could learn from.
The three song encore ended, almost inevitably, with ‘Naive’, which produced one of the best reactions I’ve ever heard from a Bexhill audience.
Looking at that crowd I got the distinct impression that this was the first ‘proper’ gig that many of the younger audience members had ever attended.
If so, it’s great that that first ever gig was a local one, so well done to the De La Warr Pavilion for providing them with that opportunity.
And if there were any gig virgins present on the night, what a great introduction to the live music experience The Kooks provided for them.
Hopefully they’ll be attending many more gigs in the future, and with any luck they’ll all be as good as this one.
Find the Kooks at: thekooks.com
For info about upcoming gigs at the De La Warr Pavilion go to: dlwp.com/whats-on