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Arts and Entertainment

Concert Review: The Kooks and The Morning Benders @ The Echo - 2/8

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The Echo may be a small clusterphobic venue, but it is the heart of the indie rock scene in Los Angeles. Los Angeles welcomed The Kooks and The Morning Benders with open arms, as the line to enter The Echo stretched around the block. There is nothing more satisfying than watching two hot new bands strut their stuff on stage at this intimate and historic location.

All the way from Berkeley, CA, the Morning Benders opened up a sold out night by blasting through a wicked and deliciously yummy set of indie pop rock goodness. Despite their fresh faces, these guys are no strangers to The Echo. Manned by the handsome and charming lead singer, Chris Chu, the quartet delivered songs from their yet to be released debut album Talking Through Tin Cans (which will be out on May 8). As Chris belted out song after song, I found myself slowly developing a man/boy crush, then I realized he can't even buy a drink, and I started feeling creepy and started to look around to see if Chris Hansen was anywhere to be found. But seriously, these guys are good! Potential is a word that usually is used to describe prospects in sports, but these guys have an excellent chance to make make it. They sounded phenomenal, and their careful attention to their craft comes out of their songs. They had the audience eating at the palm of their hands despite the fact that their album had not even be released yet.

The Kooks, named for a song on David Bowie's Hunky Dory, then burst onto the stage with an energetic and inspired set, intent on playing their infectious British brand of indie pop rock; and the hipsters were ready to chew it up. Luke Pritchard, has the makings of a bona-fide lead singer, he has the fashion aptitude of a young and sober Mick Jagger, and armed with a voice that is both distinct and memorable. When guitarist Hugh Harris started strumming his guitar to play the first few chords of She Moves In Her Own Way, the crowd instantly recognized the hit song, and when Pritchard belted out the first few lines, The Echo became an instant karaoke session.

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Listening to their performance you can almost feel them channel the forebears of their musical influence, The Beatles, The Monkees, Blur, Oasis, and The Kinks. Their songs offer a retrospective of what has made British Indie Pop so palatable to the ears of the American audience. Inside In/Inside Out is a fantastic debut album, and they played each song with purposeful zest.

The Kooks have sold out shows in the UK, and are slowly making their mark stateside. From their eager faces, you could tell that this is a band not yet hardened by life on the road, there is a sense of innocence and naievete to their stage presence, and it's refreshing to see a band genuinely enjoy each stage of their path to stardom.

Photo by Ryan Jesena/LAist