Live Music + Gig Reviews

The Kooks + Client + Lost Penguin @ Madame JoJo’s, London

5 July 2006

If Live8 were left to the indie crowd to organise, we’d get something like this evening. Explicitly this means nu rave, punk, electro and some old fashioned white boy indie rock with a cameo from Pete and Elton.

As it is, the Ceki Girls have to contend with their night to raise Hepatitis C awareness in this Soho sleaze-hole, without Pete and Elton but Luke Pritchard and friends.

The mirrors that usually greet you by the bar have been turned into a makeshift gallery of live music photography. Eventually they cracked out some much promised pictures of Hepatitis C sufferers by Michelle Martinoli. Hiding these telling facial portraits in the far side of the venue by the sound desk wasn’t the wisest choice.

Lost Penguin (***) look like a nu rave charity case. Featuring Klaxons‘ James Righton, the Penguins live up to their name with a turbulent set of screwball samples and frowzy punk. They wander about in different directions, step on each other, trip over each other. It’s all weirdly wonderful stuff even if it left a wide contingent gawping at what they had just witnessed.

Trafalgar (****) are ridiculously young. Half The Bravery with their fashionable cuts, half Larrikin Love with their body clutching, trampy threads. They proceed to blow the venue away with their indie punk. MySpace them and they come across like Razorlight but live they are a transformed force; everyone looks half shocked that these are kids making this noise. Think of them as Be Your Own Pet‘s British cousins.

Rotheram’s Client (***) are right at home with their decadent electronica. Wearing matching shoulder less leather dresses they work the crowd with erotic infused numbers, silencing every male member of the audience for half an hour until the screams from the ladies provoked by Pritchard stumbling back and forth from backstage looking for something.

As it turns out, it must have been his band who failed to materialize and so fulfil The Kooks‘ secret billing. Pritchard shuffles around showing signs of a little too much poison, teasing with a few bars of Seaside before opting on Ooh La.

Apologising for his band’s unexplained no show, Pritchard rattles off some untitled newbies which are hinting at a folkier future direction for The Kooks. A few of his pals join to form some sort of band for a bit of karaoke to the likes of Maggie’s farm. Pritchard doesn’t seem comfortable and lets a pal take lead. His in between song banter is slurred and he disappears from time to time. Returning for a sing-along-inducing Naive, Pritchard labours through to the end wanting to play on but finding the PA has been cut for curfew. He drops his guitar, waves and shouts “bye.” So that was that then.

I was never convinced this had much to do with Hepatitis C and there certainly wasn’t much emphasis. There was not a mention of the issue save for Client giving the it a polite heads up mid set. This was more of an excuse for an indie knees up to drink and dance, which worked of course.

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More on The Kooks
The Kooks – Listen
The Kooks – Junk Of The Heart
The Kooks @ Brixton Academy, London
The Kooks – Konk
The Kooks + Larrikin Love @ Octagon, Sheffield