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An eager crowd poured in early to Terminal 5 Tuesday night, selling out the massive Hell’s Kitchen venue to see British band the Kooks. An impressive variety of fans came ready for the night’s events, mostly young girls hungry for the sight of Luke Pritchard, the band’s handsome lead singer. However there also was a loyal company of pop enthusiasts that have been following the Kooks since their humble beginnings about 10 years ago.
Opening band Clara-Nova commenced the night’s activities with a beautiful set of snappy tunes. Founded by singer-songwriter Sydney Wayser, Clara-Nova’s sound consists of haunting synths tied to upbeat percussion and the ethereal but gallant vocals of Wayser. Instrumentally impressive, Wayser juggled keys, tambourine and sang with zeal, delighting the crowd. A natural on stage, she admits that she isn’t new to the scene: “I spent six years in New York performing under my own name… but I noticed doors were closing and no windows were opening… it was time to leave.” After returning to her hometown, Los Angeles, she started collaborating with Pritchard, whom she dazzled, and in turn he convinced her to join their next tour.
After her set, she told me about the memory of first time playing with Pritchard, but was distracted as the Kooks started their set with Down and the crowd roared. She paused and admiringly sighed, “They are so good.” Clara-Nova’s full-length EP is stated for release early next year.
The Kooks continued with a hefty array of pop classics and fresh tracks off their newest album Listen. Insistent anthems like She Moves and Seaside were played to a devoted crowd. At one point, Pritchard brought Wayser back on stage for an unreleased and somber duet entitled Born To It, showcasing their sonic chemistry. The set list progressed to very danceable numbers like Westside and Forgive And Forget off their new album.
As each song led into the next, Pritchard’s energy never faded. He sprung around the stage and up onto speakers as a boisterous mob begged for more. The encore brought forth nostalgic ballads, Do You Wanna and Naïve to close out the night with a strong reminder of why this band has continued to propel through a decade of success.
Photos by Kassy Balli; words by Gabrielle Westfield.