Kooks at Popscene

Two things managed to surprise me last night. The first was The Kooks, an English band here last night as part of their very first American tour. The second was Popscene, the eighteen and up venue which managed to not feel like an almost-all-ages kind of place. The fact that the band members are possibly young enough to not be able to drink legally in the United States added to the surprise that they were a good band who came off with a much more mature sound and scene than I’d expected to experience.

Rewind in time for a moment … This past summer, my music-loving roommate went to a wedding in England. When he came back, he told me that I had to hear The Kooks, the latest popular English band sure to eventually become big worldwide. I think I vaguely listened to their song that was part of his MySpace profile for awhile and then didn’t think about the band again. When he found out that they were coming here, he insisted that we go see them. I always like doing new things, so I agreed.

Of course, then I found out that they were playing at Popscene. And while I have nothing against eighteen year olds – and actually know some pretty cool ones myself – I’m a little bit beyond the age where I like to party with them. Plus, my experience of eighteen and up clubs in this city has been less than ideal. So, I was somewhat hesitant to rush out to the place. But, I’d never been there, and that’s where the band was playing, so I figured “why not?” It was good figuring.

When we first got there, I was stunned by the round-the-next-corner line of young, young faces. But when we finally got inside, I felt comfortably casual in the location. There are two rooms – a large front room with a stage and a full bar and a slightly smaller back room where you can still hear the music while playing pool and getting drinks from the smaller bar. In the front room, there are multiple TV screens, playing random snippets of vintage porn, artsy films and at one point, The Graduate.

The band is an English pop band, and the members of the band are young, but the variety of their playing makes them broader than both their genre and their age would suggest. Their sounds change between songs and even mid-song to give you a different danceable beat with lyrics which are insightful enough not to seem as though they came from the minds of kids who can’t drink here yet. All in all, the show was fun, the venue is worth checking out if you have a reason to go there and the band is one to be watched.

2 Comments so far

  1. stephanie (unregistered) on October 28th, 2006 @ 10:36 am

    i’ve been a big supporter of popscene for about 6 years now, even though i’m 34 and do feel a bit old at times, sigh.

    i primarily attend the club only when they feature a live band that i really want to see- usually long before they break.

    here’s a list of some of the bands i’ve seen at popscene over the years:
    Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Snow Patrol, The Killers, Wolfmother, Maximo Park, Editors, She Wants Revenge, Lily Allen, Muse, Kasabian, The Libertines and The Subways.

    i thought the Kooks lived up to all the hype and was quite impressed with their set on Thursday.


  2. Gurpal (unregistered) on October 29th, 2006 @ 11:43 am

    I’m a fan of Popscene as well but in my old age of 32, I can no longer stand the endless lines for the great bands. However, the venue is great as long as you don’t mind the youngsters.



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