Live Review: The Kooks With The Whigs at The Palladium

October 28, 2008

Where were you the night of October 28th?

Chances are, if you’re female and between the ages of 16 and 27 — and even remotely into music — you were at The Kooks show at the Palladium.

When offered nutty or wacky, we'll take Kooky every time. (photo by the author)

When offered nutty or wacky, we'll take Kooky every time. (photo by the author)

Though not a household name by any means, U.K.’s mega-stars The Kooks have been no secret to the States’ female population; by way of example, a few impromptu performances around UCLA earlier this May came accompanied with near-riots of practically all-female admirers.

Hollywood’s Palladium — the recently opened, lovingly restored jewel of Los Angeles’ GA concert venues — was undersold though pleasantly packed, dominated by screaming girls who held cameras and phones aloft through much of the headliners’ performance.

Despite only having two albums of proper material, The Kooks, who are known for prodigious sets rife with covers, plumbed the depths of their live catalogue and surprisingly had little problem treating their fans to over an hour and a half of music, including their trio of best successes: “Naïve,” “Ooh la” and “She Moves In Her Own Way.”  True, their on-stage presence wasn’t exactly mesmerizing, and their set seemed to drag at times (with more than a few songs resembling the aforementioned “Naïve,” “Ooh la” and “She Moves In Her Own Way”), but it appeared that singer/guitarist Luke Pritchard, by virtue of being present, allowed most of those in attendance to look beyond these shortcomings.

Call it a victory for the music biz’s old guard, but the mechanical release of well-smithed, radio-friendly singles has served this band and their fans quite well.  The Kooks further serve as a reminder that there’s always plenty of room for great pop music, regardless of the hands which guide it.

Show instigators The Whigs one-upped their recorded selves by turning in a sweaty set on the Palladium’s unadorned stage.  With only themselves to serve as an attraction, they went the extra mile to win over as many of the uninitiated as possible during their allotted time.  A kinetic and damaged rendition of “Right Hand On My Heart” was a stand-out moment – hopefully indicating the direction of things to come on their next release.

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