sun 14/07/2024

Kaiser Chiefs, Hammersmith Apollo | reviews, news & interviews

Kaiser Chiefs, Hammersmith Apollo

Kaiser Chiefs, Hammersmith Apollo

High energy popsters come out of hibernation with a spring in their step

Kaiser Chiefs: Not going to the dogs just yetDanny North

The first time I ever saw Kaiser Chiefs was on Saturday morning children's television. While the musicians performed onstage, vocalist Ricky Wilson went walkabout, continuing to belt out "I Predict a Riot" while lurking out of view. Halfway through last night's gig I thought he was about to pull the same stunt when he bolted off shortly after a blinding live rendition of "...Riot". I was sitting in the front row of the balcony at the time.

I looked to my left and suddenly Wilson was singing right next to me, serenading the stalls from above.

It's unique moments like these, as much as their powerhouse pop, that put this Leeds quintet head and shoulders above the anonymous indie crop of bands that appeared in the mid-noughties. Too unashamedly poppy to turn into Kasabian, four albums into their career they are no longer shifting the same number of units as they were back in the days when chart-topping hit "Ruby, Ruby, Ruby" (impossible to say without adding “ba ba ba ba ba bah”) suggested they were poised to become a Slade de nos jours, but last night they reminded a packed Apollo that they remain a formidable live band with a knack for entertainment. There was even a touch of Freddie Mercury in Wilson's showmanship as he conducted the crowd in a chorus of those joyous “ba bahs”.

The entire gig had a wonderful sense of gleeful perversity

They wittily set the tone for the night by fading out Sting's "I want my MTV" mantra from Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" and blasting into "Everyday I Love You Less and Less". From guitarist Andrew White's first powerchord the audience was on its feet and partying like it was 2005. Kaiser Chiefs are a great singles band and they acknowledged the fact by working through their catalogue of 45s, from "Everything Is Average Nowadays" and "The Angry Mob" to "Never Miss a Beat". Their hit rate might not quite be up there with The Jam or Blur, but it is not to be sniffed at. Performed live even songs that barely worried the charts, such as "Little Shocks", nearly ripped off the Apollo roof.

The music was infectious and chief Chief Wilson was riveting. He's not a particularly cool front man (drummer Nick Hodgson certainly thought he was cooler in his stripey Breton top and Brian Cox hairdo). At one point he swung the microphone around, a little like Roger Daltrey without the perm or the macho posturing, but accidentally whacked it on the floor in a horrifically comic Spinal Tap moment.

But his nuttiness will always be worth the ticket price. When not loitering in the balcony he ran around the stage terrorising the equipment. The speakers had the words "Bates Out" painted on in luminous lettering, presumably a message for Leeds United chairman Ken Bates, although I'm not sure if he was in the audience. When he sang on "...Riot" the line "not very pretty I tell thee" Wilson struck a rare blow for the Yorkshire vernacular in pop, conjuring up the spirit of Freddie "I'll see thee" Trueman.

The entire gig had a wonderful sense of gleeful perversity. It made me think of Margaret Thatcher's speech to Parliament when she had announced that she was resigning as Prime Minister and could relax: "I'm enjoying this!" Before an encore consisting of "Love's Not a Competition (But I'm Winning)" and their very first single "Oh My God", Wilson treated W6 to a new song, "Listen to Your Head", which was still guitar-based but suggested a slightly more electronic, dance-friendly direction. It might not put them back at the top of the charts, but as long as it keeps them on the road delivering giggle-filled gigs like this I'm all for it.

Watch Kaiser Chiefs perform "Little Shocks"





Wilson's nuttiness will always be worth the ticket price. When not loitering in the balcony he ran around the stage terrorising the equipment


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Can't wait to catch them in the US! Walk the Moon is opening for them, so it should be an amazing show!!

The new song, one of two performed at the Apollo, is 'Listen To Your Head'. Both are ace.

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