the courteeners / the kooks@ifa sommergarten

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the bigger the stage, the bigger the ego, it would seem…  so tonight the courteeners play with an attitude bordering on arrogance. they are pretty good, of course, and what they do looks & sounds extremely professional… but somehow they seemed just, well, NICER when they played berlin last time, back in may, indoors @magnet; tiny & very intimate compared to this open air venue.

not surprisingly, liam fray and his men play mostly the “bigger” songs this time, such as the singles and all the loud brit rock ones that work well in front of big crowds. it’s probably a wise decision since the audience seem to be mostly 14-year-olds waiting for the kooks who couldn’t appreciate anything else anyway. the flip side is that the repertoire of choice causes some over-sarcastic older guys in front of the stage to shout out an accusatory “OASIS!”  a couple of times… it’s a real shame about the few quieter pieces on the courtneeners’ new album, which do deserve to be played. but then, it’s the classic festival type mismatch between band and audience. the courteeners do not seem to be particularly amused…

clearly, there’s also some sort of internal battle of the bands going on with tonight’s headliners the kooks, so liam seems to feel the need of pointing out before he leaves the stage that the courteeners will do a “big” (=headlining) uk tour in december: “i hope you come to see the biggest band in england!”

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the kooks are… well, the kooks. it’s still “do you wanna/shine on/ooh la” all the way. no surprises except for one song, one of the few new ones they played: “saboteur”, which had luke pritchard play the piano for a change and which seemed to have a little bit more depth musically than their usual stuff. they did make all the teenage girls in the audience very happy though, so that’s a job well done.

some sort of honourable recognition ought to go to opening band dikta
from iceland – some wild and beautiful piano playing PLUS a guitarist wearing a bow tie. nice.

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