March 7, 2012

The Kooks / Morning Parade / Yawn - Terminal 5 - March 7,2012

The Kooks are a band that I've been trying to see for awhile but usually their guest list is full and/or their shows are sold out. I'm glad I finally saw The Kooks on Wednesday night because they didn't disappoint. Along the two really good opening bands, The Kooks delivered a great show.


Yawn is a band out of Chicago that is far more exciting then their name indicates. Yawn opened up their set with the song "Indigo," from their CD Open Season. The song had a shuffling hip-hop beat and Japanese sounding high pitched guitar riff which was repeated throughout. However, I don't remember if the guitar sound was actually played or sampled.

The following song, "Ganymede" is about a Trojan prince in Greek mythology. I believe the song is new, so it seemed a little different from their other material, by that I mean that the song still seemed to be a work in progress.

"Kind of Guy" reminded me of Vampire Weekend, not so much because of Adam Gil's vocal but more the keyboard riff and patch that sounded African influenced. During the song, Daniel Perzan in a yellow knit hat doubled on percussion by banging on the tom in unison with Jorge Perez on drums. I've been doing Concert-log for over 2 years now and I still can't help but notice how much having an additional drum (usually a tom, sometimes a snare) has become a convention.

The momentum seemed to drop a bit, when Yawn did "Sing Low." But the momentum returned once their following song, "Yum Yum," began with it's dance beat and a break down to just drums in the middle. I found the song strangely enjoyable, having vocals that were quasi doo-wop meets Beach Boys, especially with Sam Wolf singing lyrics counter to Gil's against a sampled vocal that was in the mix.

"Toys" was my favorite song of Yawn's, it was the song that was the most fun musically and the song I walked away remembering. That's not to say the last two songs weren't equally as powerful because they were. Gil announced "this is our last song" but it was really two songs back to back.

Yawn had the packed audience clapping and dancing along by the end of their set. They were a great band and an excellent warm up for both bands that were to follow.

Yawn's Set List
1. Indigo
2. Ganymede
3. Kind of Guy
4. Sing Low
5. YumYum
6. Toys
7. David/Midnite

Yawn Are:Adam Gil (lead vocals, keys and guitar)
Daniel Perzan (guitar, bass, sampler)
Sam Wolf (bass, keys, vocals)
Jorge Perez (drums, sampler)

Morning Parade

Morning Parade is a band from Harlow which is a town in the county of Essex in Eastern part of the UK. When I saw the Morning Parade at T5, they had already had two memorable days. Prior to opening for The Kooks at T5 on Wednesday night, Morning Parade's debut CD was released in the UK on March 5th and they played Heaven in London on March 6th. That doesn't mean that Morning Paradeis a new band, according to Wikipedia, they formed in 2007 and signed to Parlophone (record label) in 2010.

Morning Parade started with a Steve Sparrow singing over a sequenced keyboard part, before the guitars and drums took over. The first things I noticed was what a powerful singer Sparrow is and how is phrasing for that particular song seemed very similar to Chris Martin of Coldplay.

From the first to last song, Morning Parade's set was really powerful. During "Blue Winter," I was struck by how much the entire band, and especially drummer Andrew Hayes, supported Sparrow's melodies. Though Ben Giddings keyboards brought different colors to the bands guitar driven songs, it felt like Hayes drumming accented the rhythm of Sparrow's lyrics.

For "Carousel," Sparrow switched to acoustic guitar as guitarist Chad Thomas played an echoing lead underneath the strum and songs dance beat. Thomas's guitar was also prominent during "Us & Ourselves," and although it's a very different song there were points when it reminded my of Blue Oyster Cults' "Don't Fear the Reaper"

The prominent kick snare dance beat continued for "Headlights" which was my favorite song of the set. I loved hearing bass player Phill Titus and Giddings filling out the song with background vocals, but I also think that organically it was a well written song. You can judge for yourself by checking out Sparrow performing it solo on Youtube.

As you can see on this posting, I took a photo of Morning Parade's set list that was taped to the side of an amp prior to their set. I almost positive that they ended their set with "Close to Your Heart" and not "Born Alone," because I remember a guitar and bassline that reminded me of early U2 along with a powerful chorus.

I think I used the word powerful more than once during this posting. That's probably because I was really impressed by Morning Parade and would love to see them again.

Morning Parade's Set List
1.Under the Stars
2.Blue Winter
4.Us and Ourselves
6.Close to Your Heart

Morning Parade are:
Steve Sparrow -lead vocals and guitar
Phill Titus -bass
Chad Thomas - guitar
Ben Giddings - piano/synths
Andrew Hayes - drums.

The Kooks

I think I read about The Kooks having a ramp that ran along the edge of the stage and when I arrived at T5, "oh yeah," there it was. From the opening song to the last encore The Kooks delivered a set of power pop songs that pushed each song into the next. Beginning with "Always Where I Need To Be," lead vocalist Luke Pritchard worked the ramp by singing and prancing about in his tight-ass black jeans. While Pritchard is surely not the handsomest bloke in the bunch, as with most good front men his bravado makes him sort of sexy....(I wouldn't throw him out of bed, even if he just laid down to have a cigarette.)

Once Pritchard grabbed his 1960′s Domino Californian Rebel CE82 Electric Guitar and sang not only the opening line but the title of the song "Is It Me," the audience cheered and sang along. Pritchard managed to get in some hand gestures between guitar strums and some jamming with band between vocals.

Pritchard continued to work the ramp and the crowd along side curly haired lead guitarist Hugh Harris and bass player Peter Denton, who looked like he was wearing an Hermes jacket he bought on the road. During the beginning of their set, both guitarists look rather sedate standing along side Pritchard. The audience on the other hand was love lovin' The Kooks yelling out all the prominent lyrics like "Oh won't you come on over" in "Sofa Song" and the word "mis-communication" in "Down To The Market."

For the song "Rosie," Pritchard changed to acoustic guitar and, Denton and Harris joined in on vocals. When The Kooks got to "She Moves In Her Own Way" the audience sang along for the entire song. During "Sway" an "Runnaway" Harris played noticeable leads, while on the latter song Denton changed over to acoustic guitar from bass. There was a sequenced bass-line for the song which must have been kicked off by drummer Paul Garred who played consistent 4/4 kick drum and worked off of his high-hats.

By the time The Kooks got to "Taking Pictures of You" the head of security ironically told me that I should have moved out of the photo area long before that point. So, I retreated to taking photos further back to the direct audience left of the stage. Being a little back further, I began to realize how many of The Kooks songs were strongly supported by Hugh Harris's lead guitar.   Aside from the occasional solo Harris added a variety of color to each song.

Pritchard went back to playing his crunchy sounding Domino Electric Guitar for "Stormy Weather." During the song, the band dropped out several times to let the audience sing the chorus of "Love, Love, Love." The Kooks followed up with "If Only," which was when Pritchard did most of his dancing. Pritchard often looks like a squawking chicken when he dances; his moves look a variation of Mick Jagger's. At the end of "If Only," the band walked off stage leaving just Pritchard vocally adlibbing to an audible keyboard sound as the roadies set him up for the quasi-acoustic part of the show.

Lucky for me Pritchard was set up stage right which was the side of the room that I was on. Once he was alone with the audience he shyly mumbled "I'm gonna do a song you all's called Seaside" As Pritchard started the song, all the women in the audience screamed that high pitched scream that can make a blind men see again. And of course, everyone sang along - at times taking over the song for Pritchard.

Pritchard stayed in place with his acoustic guitar and Denton stood behind him to play the bass-line for "Tick of Time." Garred also stepped out to lock in the songs reggae feel by just adding a kick drum on beats two and four of each bar.

The band reassembled for "See The World" and Pritchard once again had his Domino guitar back in his hand. For "How'd You Like That," Hugh Harris moved to the electric baby grand that was placed stage left. From there on out the show was of course all about the hits. And all the girls once again screamed when Pritchard played the beginning of "Ooh La," on acoustic guitar. When the song ended Pritchard came back with a capo on his Domino electric and mumbled "I want you all to come together for this one." before breaking into "Shine On." I'm not sure what he meant by coming together, the audience was jam packed and had been singing along in unison for most of The Kooks set.

The Kooks ended with "Do You Wanna," which was drawn out with a echo chamber sounding semi-brake down and build up that lead to a big finish ." When The Kooks came back Pritchard sat at the piano for the song "Saboteur." which I didn't recall ever hearing before but really enjoyed. "Saboteur" seemed very different from the rest of the songs in the set. After hearing the band perform "Junk of the Heart" and "Naive," I went home.....Happy! (yea...pun intended) The Kooks have been on tour for awhile and it shows. I thought the show moved along like a well oiled machine while still being exciting to watch.

The Kooks' Set List
1.Always Where I Need To Be
2.Is It Me
3.Sofa Song
4.Down To The Market
6.She Moves In Her Own Way
9.Taking Pictures Of You
10.Stormy Weather
11.If Only
13.Tick of Time
14.See the World
15.How'd You Like That
16.Ooh La
17.Shine One
18.Do You Wanna

20.Junk of the Heart

The Kooks are:
Luke Pritchard – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Hugh Harris – lead guitar, keys, piano, backing vocals
Peter Denton – bass, backing vocals
Paul Garred – drums

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