Two days ago, I had the opportunity to once again witness the performance of arguably one of my favorite bands of all time.
Sunday, May 3rd, I walked into Newport Music Hall buzzing with energy and excitement. Finally, after a long eight month long wait, I was going to see The Kooks.
I attended the concert with my girlfriend and two of my best friends (one of which is our talented writer, Andrew Burns), and decided that for once we were going to try to stand in the infamous pit.
The sea of people around us just added to the affect and overall ambiance of the venue, filled with anxious fans eager to see the British indie rock band once more (or even for the first time).
One of the two openers came on stage soon after we had arrived (we unfortunately had gotten there 30 minutes after the doors opened). The lead singer walked up to a mic stand sporting an American flag and began to blow us away with some powerful vocals and great rock riffs.
Young Rising Sons hail from Red Bank, New Jersey and consists of Andy Tongren (lead vocals, guitar), Dylan Scott (lead guitar), Julian Dimagiba (bass), and Steve Patrick (drums). The band tends to have an extremely patriotic and upbeat rock sound that leaves your ears ringing but eager for more. The band played all of the songs off of their self-titled debut, including the hit single “High”, a catchy upbeat song that you’ve probably heard on commercials for Hulu Plus.
Halfway through the performance the band covered Modern English’s iconic “I Melt With You” which just set thee mood for a night with more great performances. Young Rising Sons was on tour with The 1975 in December, which is why I wasn’t surprised when Tongren took out a bottle of Jack Daniel’s as he sang. The scene on stage confused my friend, but took me back to Matty Healy’s performance at the LC last May where he openly drank a bottle of vodka on stage.
Young Rising Sons set the bar high, and as an opener, really engaged the crowd. I was really impressed with their performance. You can listen to “High” below, make sure to check out their music on iTunes and Amazon.
Next up, Joywave.
These Rochester natives use an electro-pop sound to hook their audiences in for danceable hits and catchy beats.
To be honest with you, I was extremely eager to see these guys open for one main reason: the lead singer’s mustache. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about…here it is:
Look at it.
This five piece electro-pop/rock band uses sarcastic remarks, witty comments, and electronic beats that have you dancing along immediately. Joywave consists of Daniel Armbruster (vocals), Joseph Morinelli (guitar), Sean Donnelly (bass), Benjamin Bailey (keyboards), and Paul Brenner (drums).
The band started their set with their weird, yet catchy new song “Destruction”. Armbruster (mustache and all) made sure to make obscure movements with his hands while dancing…weirdly to put it in its simplest form. He would gesture to the crowd, but the crowd would just stand there and wonder what the hell he was doing. I liked it, but I was also a bit confused. At the end of “Destruction”, Armbruster wanted to get something straight “Columbus, you don’t want to end up like Dallas…we played this song five times before we actually saw some movement” so what did they do? They played the song again. This time, when Armbruster gestured to the crowd to jump, they actually did. It was hilarious, I know I was laughing the entire time.
After two repeats of “Destruction”, Columbus finally began to “wake up” and the band played music off of their recently released debut How Do You Feel Now? under Cultco Records.
The ended with one of their hits “Tongues”, one that will definitely leave you dancing, and if you don’t. Something is wrong. (They also hinted at coming back to Columbus in the fall).
Joywave made sure to interact with the crowd, get everyone down on the ground (literally), and make everyone have a good time. Or else. I would probably add them to one of the best opening acts that I’ve seen, and I’ve witnessed quite a bit.
Finally, the moment I was waiting for since I had walked out of that same venue eight months before, The Kooks.
The Kooks started off with songs off of their latest album Listen, but didn’t shy away from playing hits like “Oh La”, “She Moves In Her Own Way”, and “Cap”. The first time I saw them in concert, they strictly played songs off of Listen with the occasional song or two from Konk or Inside In/Inside Out, but this time it was different. They really did add quite the variety the second time around, playing songs that appeared on 2012’s Junk of the Heart.
Pritchard made sure to add in A LOT more guitar solos, some extra songs, and some epic acoustic riffs. I may have flipped shit the first time I saw them, but my reaction then doesn’t even come close to my reaction this time around.
As my girlfriend put it, they seemed a lot more confident this time. They had a lot more charisma and interaction on stage, and they made sure that everyone had a great time whether or not you were in the pit or on the balcony.
Funny story. In the middle of the show, the band mates left the stage and Pritchard came up with his guitar and started to play a song that I really wasn’t expecting, “Dreams”, track 8 on Listen. It’s a song that I personally don’t think many people listen to. Anyways, while he was playing the song, a loud boom erupted from the speakers, the entire venue just jumped back and covered their ears. Pritchard himself pulled his ear buds out and jumped back. We were all very confused…and in slight amounts of pain. Turns out an amp blew or something. After what seemed like forever, the band came back on stage and gave a performance that allowed me to forget about everything that happened. They. Were. Great.
When Pritchard dragged out the paino and began playing the ballad to his father “See Me Now” all I could do was stand there in awe. The emotion everyone in that venue could feel was absolutely incredible. I was moved, although I may be a little biased…
Unfortunately the night had come to an end. A concert that I wish I could just relive over and over again was coming to a close,. Luckily, I still had the encores.
The final song of the night was the classic Kooks hit, “Naive”. Both concerts ended with that song, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I walked out of that venue feeling bittersweet. Happy that I had once again gotten to see The Kooks and experience some great bands, but a little sad that time was over. Post-concert depression is real.
If you get the opportunity to see these guys live (any of them), I definitely would. You’d be getting the most out of your money, I mean that.
As the band says in the ‘Thank You’s’ on the back of the physical copy of the CD and Vinyl,
“Thank you spirit for your guidance, it will always hollow thru these recordings and hopefully inspire others to follow their heart and LISTEN.”