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Monday, March 12, 2012

Kooking Around
or a little Brit Pop hits the spot

Okay, so I have been really lucky to see a ton of terrific bands perform live, but there is a short list of bands (domestic and foreign) still on my wish list: The Shins, Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Pete Yorn and the Kooks just to name a few. Fortunately for me and my concert sidekick, Mary Ann-ski (MA), we can both scratch the last set of lads off our lists.

I've loved their particular innocuous form of Brit Pop ever since hearing the ridiculous catchy Naive play for the first time on the radio. It hearkens back to my love of all bands from British Isles like the Cure and The Smiths only more bouncy and lighthearted.

So on Tuesday, I just happened to be outside yakking to a friend of mine, when The Kooks (on tour in support of their latest effort, Junk of the Heart) rolled up to the South Side studios of WYEP in a non-descript panel van for a lunch time concert. The door slid open and four lanky English boys tumbled out, sleepily scratching their unruly mop-topped heads. Even though they were clearly travel-weary, these young men still took the time to say hello and chat briefly before heading inside.

OMG, so cute in their little hipster doofus, pegged-leg pants, mismatched shirts and English accents, especially bass thumper Pete who was the only one old enough to sprout facial hair. And a fine beard it was.

You had me at 'Allo.

Seriously, anything sounds more intelligent spoken in an English accent, a cereal box, a Black-Eyed Peas lyric, the nonsensical Republican political platform...

Okay, maybe not that last one. Nothing could make that ridiculous ideology sound remotely reasonable. But I digress...

The bleary-eyed trio sang three of their best songs including Ooh La, then a funny thing happened during their interview. The lead singer, Luke Pritchard, lost his ability to enunciate. Or perhaps he was being possessed by the not-dead-yet spirit of Bob Dylan. I could not understand a word he uttered. Seriously. Not. One. Word. He totally needed subtitles. At first I thought it was my dinosaur ears grinding to a halt, but then both MA and Geo made the same complaint.

Standing amongst the toddlers at Mr. Small's that night, MA and I did a mental high five when the surrounding diaper-clad tykes sported cartoon question marks around their heads when Luke took to the stage and spoke in mumbled tongues.

Luke: MURMERMURMERmumblemumbleharumphhmumble, PITTSBURGH! Mrmsufajfhgas!!
Crowd: Yay?

Okay, that's kind of misleading considering the cacophony of ear-piercing, girlie squeals emanating from the crowd every time Lukey boy spoke, gestured or strut across the stage. The din was reminiscent of the original mop-topped fab four's American debut.

Note: It's weird being the geriatric in the crowd. Weird and unsettling. Like being a chaperon at your imp's school crepe paper, bump-and-grind dance, only with an unlimited supply of liquor, which, when you think of it, is the only way to survive chaperoning a hideous high school gym soiree.

Arms length, Mother F**ker. *hiccup*

But I digress, yet again...

As sleepy and subdued as they were at the radio station, they were wide awake and Red-Bulled up on stage. There was a foot-high platform at the front of the stage on which the lanky lead singer would leap and strut his thin frame about like Mick Jagger, inciting raucous squeals with every chicken-arm pump.

(Clearly I am the Queen of the almighty hyphen today. What of it, beeyatch.)

Behold the chicken-arm strut:

PS: the acoustics kinda blow at Mr. Small's. FYI

PPS: what's going on in those pants, junior?


The investigative skills of MA uncovered the 27 year-old singer dated Mick's daughter, Georgia and lists Dylan as one of his biggest influences. And so it all makes sense now.

Anywho... The concert did not disappoint. They paraded out nearly all of the best of their catalog, Mr. Maker, Always Where I Need To Be, Love it All, Shine On, Ooh La, She Moves In Her Own Way, a lovely solo rendition of Seaside, Junk of the Heart (Happy) and ending with a rousing Naive.

Check another band off of the list. It was definitely worth the wait for this Brit Pop sensation to roll through town. Big fun had by all, even if our T-Rex dino arms were too short to sip our cocktails. That's what long straws are for, yo.

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