We all loved “Ooh La” off of Inside In/Inside Out last summer, but the Kooks’ sophomore album, Konk, is filled with even more classic Britpop and vibrant, danceable hooks. Despite the oppressive heat wave currently blanketing the Naked City, fans of the Brighton rockers made it all the way up to Terminal 5 to see the Kooks tear it up on the last date of their successful US tour, which also featured indie rock darlings the Morning Benders.

Hailing from Berkeley, CA, the Morning Benders dropped their full length Talking Through Tin Cans May 6th on + 1 Records. Opening for the Kooks at a 3000-capacity venue isn’t small potatoes, and for a band that hasn’t been on the scene that long they possess admirable stage confidence, especially in front of a voracious loyal crowd waiting around for their headliners. But when lead singer Chris Chu hit the stage to perform their single “Waiting for War” he had the whole room at attention and the band did a great job warming up the crowd with their 60’s-influenced tunes. Like the Kooks, these guys know how to write a good pop song that evokes the days of the Kinks and the Beatles with a clean, stripped sound. Songs like “Damnit Anna” and “Loose Change” ensure that the Morning Benders are a great opening act, but my bets say they won’t be stuck as openers for long.

By the time the Kooks hit the stage, the crowd was ready to explode in anticipation of Luke Pritchard and the boys belting out their favorite hits. The Kooks killed it with incredible energy and were one of the best live sets I’ve seen so far this spring. The room was swaying and singing along to every word when 23-year-old Luke Pritchard, donning a gold headband (giving him the air of an angelic good shepherd dressed for a school play), stole the attention of the room, playing song after song of dance-pop fueled rock songs about youth, love and life (and Jackie’s “big tits”) that make for the best summer anthems.

It was impossible not to notice the Kooks’ adoring fans, especially the newer younger fans that have likely been turned on to the Brit rockers this year after hearing “Do You Wanna” on shows like Gossip Girl. As thousands of fans danced the night away, the Kooks played a solid mix of tunes from Inside In/Inside Out and Konk so every fan got their fix.--Aishah Roberts/photos by Faith-Ann Young

MORNING BENDERS SETLIST:
Damnit Anna
I Was Wrong
Loose Change
Patient Patient
Crosseyed
Wasted Time
Boarded Doors
Waiting for a War
Grain of Salt

www.myspace.com/themorningbenders

KOOKS SETLIST:
ALWAYS THERE
MATCHBOX
EDDIE’S GUN
OOH LA
SWAY
I WANT YOU
ONE LAST TIME
TIME AWAITS
SHE MOVES
MR MAKER
SEE THE SUN
DO YOU WANNA
NAÏVE
SHINE ON
SEE THE WORLD
YOU DON’T LOVE ME
SEA SIDE
JACKIE BIG TITS
STORMY WEATHER
SOFA SONG

www.myspace.com/thekooks