Irish five-piece Walking On Cars took to the stage on their first time touring the UK and instantaneously had the sold-out, crammed venue mesmerized with their beguiling sound. Sounding almost like a fusion of Charlie Simpson and The Fray, with lead-man Patrick Sheehy’s raspy vocals and mix of guitars and Sorcha Durham’s timely and faultless keyboard playing, the audience was hooked. By the third song they already had the Academy clapping along and by their last performance of catchy track, ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ they had the room in a call and response of the chorus.
The lights in Bournemouth’s crowded O2 venue went down as the stage was lit up by visuals of floating televisions and on walked The Kooks. Opening their set with ‘Around Town’, their first track from new record Listen, the Academy swayed along before more familiar, ‘See The World’ and ‘Ooh La’ drove everyone into frenzy.
“As much as we love performing new stuff, we like to play older songs too” front man Luke Pritchard proclaims after playing a few tracks from the new album, about to pull ‘She Moves in Her Own Way’ out of the bag. It’s been eight years since Inside In/Inside Out and the growth of The Kooks since then is clearly perceptible. Rather than the original acoustic vibe, this song was played with an advanced, rowdier and more electric sound. ‘Eddie’s Gun’ was up next and it was performed with this same feeling to it, showing the audience that they’re still the same band, just more a grown up version.
Still carrying on the setlist with older tracks, ‘Seaside’ was an absolute treat in the O2 as the quieter tones of the song allowed everyone’s voices to echo round the room as Pritchard stopped singing to listen to the new-found choir. Despite ‘Seaside’ staying as a soft acoustic track, ‘Shine On’ appeared to be missing tonight.
The new, less acoustic and more power-driven, electric version of The Kooks managed to receive a good reception as they ping-ponged between new tracks and reworked hits from their discography such as ‘Always Where I Need To Be’ and ‘Do You Wanna’.
“We want more” echoed the O2 Academy as the floor became some kind of stomping ground for the fans in the audience as The Kooks quickly left and nonchalantly sauntered back onto the stage for an intense choice of three encore tracks. ‘See Me Now’ was a flawless half-lit moment on stage as the O2 stayed captivated, before getting into a full happy swing during ‘Junk of The Heart’ being performed. ‘Naïve’ was the obvious close to The Kooks’ set and hearing it with a more charged sound was the real treat of the night.