Listening to The Kooks under a bridge in rainy Johannesburg


I’d been waiting to see The Kooks for years.

Although not one of my top five, they’ve just been one of those bands that always makes their way onto mix CDs for my car, I never skip a song of theirs on my iPod and they always get me dancing, no matter what.

So when they were announced as the headliners for the latest #5GumExperience, I danced for joy around the office making everyone think I was nuts.

The Kooks, formed in 2004, made their way into my heart with their first album Inside In/Inside Out in 2005.

Lead singer Luke Pritchard says the band met in Brighton and when they were kids they had the idea of wanting being in a band, and they had strong moral ideas of what music should be.

“When we came out there was this wave of bands,” but he says when they met, the mass of music that was out there such as R&B bonded them and they were inspired to make what they thought was real music.

The band says they were looking for any excuse to tour in South Africa. “We’ve wanted to come here for a long time,” says Pritchard, and they will be travelling for a bit while they’re here.

They’re most looking forward to shark cage diving in Cape Town.

When the band released their first album, it was around the time the Myspace boom kicked off and Pritchard says the band didn’t really think about the Internet as a platform, but they had a great team and it helped.

“We had our roots in the UK and we were based in touring, but the Internet was really helpful.”

He says there are pros and cons to it, such as making less money due to piracy and bad versions of songs being readily available online.

Can’t judge music online
Guitarist Hugh Harris says you can’t judge a song that’s put online by people recording in a crowd.

“It’s frustrating and it makes us not want to play new material … and there’s the danger of flooding the net with too much content as well.”

Harris says the band’s second album Konk, which was released in 2008, was available to listen to long before the release.

The danger of the Internet for a band, they all agree, is the fact that it’s invasive.

“Drunk tweeting isn’t allowed,” says bassist Paul Denton.

The Kooks have been watching the tweets leading up to the #5GumExperience and Pritchard says he likes how it’s so vibed up and they were really excited to play here.

The band has been somewhat absent from the international stage of late and have been writing their new album, a follow-up to 2011’s Junk of the Heart, which they say will be out hopefully later this year.

Pritchard says if you love the first three albums, you will love the new one.


Luke Pritchard of The Kooks performs in rainy Johannesburg. (Photo: Nikita Ramkissoon)

The rain in Johannesburg lies mainly under a bridge
I do love their first three albums, so that night, as we waited in a long queue to get onto a bus to go to a secret venue, the rain didn’t dampen my spirits.

Everyone in the queue all togged up in layers were saying they hope the band delivers and boy, did they deliver.

Held under a random bridge in the middle of Johannesburg, the rain seeped through my shoes and jacket as it bucketed down.

We missed Shortstraw and caught the end of The Stella’s. We were miserable, cold, wet and being rained on by the underside of the bridge. We were walking through puddles that could very well have turned into sinkholes.

The venue would have been awesome if it were not for the rain. And we had to put up with complaining people in heels or shorts. Dumbasses –or numbasses given the weather.

But it was worth it.

When the band finally came on, I forgot about the rain and cold and danced until my frozen feet were sore. My crazy friends and I relived our university years through their music as we danced to See The World, swayed to Sway and splashed in puddles to Naïve.

Pritchard, getting a bit emotional toward the end said “This is our first tour to South Africa and we are loving you guys. Thank you for making it so amazing.”

And amazing it was. – Nikita Ramkissoon

This article was originally published on Times LIVE

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Nikita Ramkissoon

Editor at So Much Music
Nikita is a Journalism and Education lecturer by day and music Jedi master by night. She can be seen in the photography pit or stage left with her Wookie husband. She can also be found trying to source corn dogs. If you see her, buy her a corn dog. She loves corn dogs.