TVD Live Shots:
The Kooks with The Snuts at the O2 Brixton Academy, 2/19

The mid-2000s was easily the best and most exciting time to be a fan of Britpop. You had veterans like Oasis and Starsailor delivering their best work (just before self-destructing) and new artists like Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand, and The Editors being passed the torch to push the genre forward.

The Kooks found themselves smack dab in the middle of a movement while progressing toward a more hard-edged approach with much slicker production values. They flipped the formula on its head, going against the grain and bringing back the ’60s vibe, and it worked brilliantly.

The Kooks were the new kids on the block, but that ’60s influence brought with it an element of old school troubadour coolness that the new crop was missing. A throwback to The Kinks’ finest moments combined with the hipster factor of The Libertines and a focus on songwriting and storytelling would be the differentiator.

The band was apparently signed to a record deal by Virgin after only three months of being formed. Inside In/ Inside Out would become their awe-inspiring debut album in 2005 and would go on to sell over two million copies. It just goes to show that sometimes the major label engine works flawlessly, but it’s also a testament to the talent and attitude that define The Kooks. They’re interesting, relatable, and really fun to watch live.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since the band’s breakthrough. Having plowed through just about every genre imaginable over the years while experimenting with their sound, it’s refreshing to see them return to the album that made it all possible. Although not in order, the album was played in its entirety, and the songs sounded just as fresh as they did upon the original release.

The fact that they sold out three nights at the legendary Brixton Academy is yet another testament to the strength of these songs and their place in Britpop history. We got a taste of things to come with the first single, “Connection,” from the band’s upcoming release due out this Summer. It’s a fucking brilliant song with a bit of a retro ’80s feel combined with the original attitude of their breakthrough. This is going to be a very interesting year for The Kooks, and it could signal yet another pivot in the band’s ever-evolving sound.

Scotland’s current buzz band, The Snuts, opened up the show, which was a bit of a weird one for me. Here’s a band that’s got a number one hit and slated to headline Brixton themselves in just a couple of months, and they played in front of a giant Kooks QR code. (By the way, hats off to The Kooks for the clever way to engage the fans—this was the first time I’ve seen this.)

I’ll be honest here, I had to Google what the meaning of a Snut is and found some very colorful descriptions. It’s quite a fun word to say, but the various interpretations of the actual meaning leave it for very selective use. I dig these guys, and I think they are in full rock star mode (as evident in the photos). These guys are poised to be the next big thing across Europe, and it’s fascinating to see how they react and pump up their live shows. Watch this space as I’m sure The Snuts will take their headlining gig return to Brixton to the next level.


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