The Kooks in Santiago: Pale, Interesting and a Hit with the Ladies

Chilean men in the crowd at Saturday night’s Kooks gig must have wondered what all the fuss was about. Four unkempt, skinny Brits, paler than their white backdrop, had the girls screaming in a frenzy worthy of Beatlemania. None of these Brighton boys would look out of place behind the counter at PC World and yet, here they were with the women of Chile at their feet. Oh, to be British and in a band.

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Playing Santiago for the first time on June 13, The Kooks walked out onto the stage at Teatro Caupolican to a rapturous welcome and a sea of waving flags and camera phones. As the familiar strains of single “Always Where I Need To Be” rang out, fans cheered when singer Luke Pritchard picked up a Chilean flag that was thrown onto the stage, and then squealed with delight as he took his jacket off.

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Still just in their early twenties, The Kooks have come a long away since they released their first album Inside Out back in 2006. They’re more confident on stage now and Pritchard’s big, resonant voice has grown to fill auditoriums like this one. On this night, despite, (or perhaps because of) a few technical problems, “Do You Wanna” was bigger and better than on record. Pritchard, after a slight hissy fit, strutted and preened across the stage, and worked the audience until even the balconies were jumping.

Accused by some critics of betraying their indie roots and going pop with follow-up album Konk, tonight they proved that pop is what they do well. “Shine On” is a perfect happy-clappy summer anthem, complete with layered harmonies and a ‘sha la la la’ chorus that people in the crowd were still humming on the way home. Likewise, acoustic “One Last Time” is a beautiful radio-friendly ballad that smug couples sang along to as they looked longingly into each others’ eyes.

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Not all the newer songs worked as well and the band had to fight to get the crowd back on their side after a few too many album fillers during the encore. But, as they finished with Stormy Weather and a shout of “Are you with us?” it was obvious that Santiago most definitely was.

Especially the girls.

What did English-speakers in the audience think of the show? Revolver found out…

Grace from Somerset, UK:
“‘Naïve’ was most definitely the highlight for me. I saw them a few years ago and they were much more crowd friendly this time.”

Chris from Orange, Australia:
“Where’s the aftershow?”

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Paddy from Oxford, UK:
“Absolutely amazing!”

Theo from London, UK:
Revolver: What did you think of the show?
Theo: I got beaten up by 6 Peruvian guys. Hang on. Where am I?
Revolver: Santiago, Chile
Theo: I mean Chilean guys. And now I’ve got three scarves. I only came with one.

Joe from Washington, USA:
Revolver: What did you think of the show?
Joe: Is it over? We just got here. Is it really over?
Revolver: Urm. Yes, it just finished.
Joe: We bought tickets this afternoon. They told us it wouldn’t start until after 10pm. Is it really over? Seriously?
Revolver: Seriously.
Joe: Aw man!!

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