All entries for Sunday 04 September 2005

September 04, 2005

The Kooks: Islington Bar Academy 01/09/05

Writing about web page http://www.nme.com/news/113581.htm

So, Thursday the 1st of September and The Kooks stop by in Islington for an extra date to their tour. They're supported by The Rivers and a band that I don't catch the name of, but more about that later.

Caroline from work lives not far from Islington Academy so we got the bus and she showed me where it was. Mighty handy as it's stashed away in a shopping centre.

It being the first gig (at least in London, I think) that I've attended on my own and what with the Bar Academy being rather small (though amusingly substantially bigger than the Birmingham one and with more air-conditioning…or indeed ANY air conditioning) I bought a drink and then didn't really know what to do with myself. After looking interestedly at some gig listings things left on the bar, I went for a wander to look at the merchandise (having already received, for free, some awesome The Kooks earrings, matches and a badge; I was curious). Then after some more not knowing what to do with myself, more people started to turn up so it was easier to blend in. Then I spotted Paul from The Kooks, who I've interviewed before and he recognised me so we chatted for a bit, then came the bands!

The Rivers
The band were surprisingly good and in my opinion should be signed. They were really toe-tapping and sort of in the vein of the Arctic Monkeys in terms of sound. Couldn't tell you about the lyrics because I couldn't make out some of them. I asked Paul what they were called and initially thought he said "The Vicars" which sounded a bit wrong so I asked him again a bit later on, good job too! They're from Brighton and gig around quite a lot apparently so yes, go see them.

The band I didn't catch the name of
This bands looked like they were trying a bit too hard to look cool and be rock'n'roll, but they weren't all bad. I can't be much more detailed than that because I got distracted: a short way through, the lead singer pelted a glass bottle into the audience (I guess things like that is why they don't sell anything involving glass in the Birmingham academies, why it isn't the same in Islington, I don't know. Incidentally, they didn't check my bag when I went in either). It ricocheted off the relatively low ceiling and whacked the girl standing next to me, in the forehead, I merely got covered in beer. The shock and the pain combined and she looked like she was in agony. She went to the toilets and her boyfriend followed and I got her some ice from the bar: the only comedy bit of it is that in cartoon fashion, a lump instantly formed on her forehead and you could see it getting bigger an bigger and going red and then purple then black. It was quite a spectacle! When I took her the ice she said that she knows him as well (which I suppose was a good thing, she won't sue him now) and that she had a wedding to go to at the weekend :S oops

The Kooks
The Kooks themselves were a very good watch, though seemed to be a mysteriously short set, though not that mysterious because I expect they don't have horrendous amounts of perfected material. They were really lively and loads of people were singing along: the atmosphere was great because it was a small space that, despite being sold out, wasn't painfully packed to the brim, and a great bulk of the audience were friends and family of the band, plus the first few rows were excitable (and overstyled, mind) teenagers. There was no barrier up between the crowd on the stage so during the last song, the load of teenagers clambered on to the stage and were singing along and dancing and hugging The Kooks. Hugh put his guitar round someone's neck for them to play and carried on doing his vocals and then at the end everyone on stage was chanting "hugh, hugh, hugh, hugh". Bless their cotton socks.

Somehow, having my job has made me feel like I'm at least in my mid twenties on such occasions so I did NEARLY go to piss about on stage because, when else do you get to do it? but then I thought "but I've been able to see through this whole gig because they're all so young and short" so I resisted and smiled at the young whippersnappers enjoying themselves.

The gig finished earlier than I thought it would, at 10.15 or so and I headed off feeling all warm and fuzzy: the boyfriend of the girl who got cracked in the head by the bottle was trying to get across to the bar and when he passed by me, paused and gave my arm a squeeze in return for getting his girly some ice: bear in mind that typical Londoner style, everyone else next to her just ignored her apart from one other girl, so I felt like my faith in Londoners had been restored somewhat.

Also having been to Reading, where moving anywhere was the biggest chore in the world, London actually seems quite roomy, at least for the short term.


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