The Kooks w/ Fickle Friends at Bristol's Colston Hall

The night was nearly as young as the audience that had congregated outside Bristol’s Colston Hall when the crowd were granted access to the grand setting. The theatre venue was a refreshing change of location in comparison to most music venues in the vicinity (with no other having quite the vastness or range in seated and standing areas to compete). Supporting the headliners was the Brighton-based band known as Fickle Friends who began fluttering their 80’s influenced indie wings the moment they launched into tracks “Brooklyn” and “Hello Hello”. The sound this entourage honed was unquestionably infectious as the audience were quick to shuffle, slide and shake their stuff to their jiving rhythms and synth soaked songs they had to offer.


A huge white sheet descended in front of the stage, triggering a few pockets of whoops and screams from the excited attendees as they continued to twitch their feet and hum to the unmarked memories of the previous band's setlist. White lights illuminated the room as the sheet was released and waved through the air before revealing The Kooks, already firing “Eddie’s Gun” off as the crowd’s screams reached a ridiculous volume. Hugh Harris’s blunt “You Don’t Love Me” guitar chops rang out as he and Bassist Pete Denton issued out strong support vocals, being blanketed in white gold, deep reds and cold blues that slipped their way over the many faces in what can only be described as fixed in an expression of pure adoration.

Frontman Luke Pritchard rotated through guitar, piano and lead vocals, trading up his fender for a microphone and showing off his endless stream of confidence as he strutted around the stage and called out individuals in the front row who were pushing out lungs to reach singing notes. Moments of unique intimacy are sometimes hard to come by in large capacity shows that have a solid stream of similar nights to follow but although Mr Pritchard was set to perform “See Me Now” at every date of the tour, only tonight would he play to former band members of his deceased father, making him noticeably vulnerable and more than a little nervous (which he openly admitted), bringing the songs context to emotional peaks. Four albums and twenty odd songs worth of Indie pop music later and the throng of followers appeared noticeably fatigued but respectfully raring for more. None of these however, generated a reception quite like their most popular numbers including “She Moves In Her Own Way”, “Seaside” and “Naive”, which gave the Bristolians an opportunity to personify this untainted admiration by clambering onto shoulders, releasing a few tears of joy and even swinging what emerged to be underwear through the air in a very disturbing manner.

A fantastic nostalgia filled night accompanied with pure emotion. [8/10]


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