Wolverhampton Civic Hall
6th Feb 2015
It was almost exactly a year ago that we last reviewed Kaiser Chiefs live (where the photo to the right, © Melanie Smith, was taken.) Then they were in a small venue in Manchester, this time it’s a large one in Wolverhampton. See how they went down below.
The Kaiser Chiefs. I thought they were a spent force. Remember them, nearly 10 years ago, jumping around all over the place, coming across like a poor man’s ‘modern-life is rubbish’ era Blur? They had someone with a silly hat, some catchy pop tunes, a charismatic front man, and a drummer that wrote the songs. Time went on, people grew up, fashions changed, and the drummer who wrote the songs fled. The Kaiser Chiefs, it seems, were a spent force.
Then front man Ricky Wilson appears on kids / family TV favourite ‘the voice’, and he looks good. The Voice is a hit, and The Kaiser Chiefs are saved to live another day. I have a 9-year-old ‘Voice’ loving daughter, and I thought the Kaisers were an okay little pop band back in the day. I should take her, it’ll be full of new converts thanks to the voice’s popularity. Could be interesting. Let’s get one thing straight. Your correspondent here was proven wrong on many points. The evening was certainly interesting, yet there seemed to be no younger generation of fans in the building, it was wall to wall middle aged, hardcore fans -screaming, shouting, and creating an atmosphere in the venue that I haven’t experienced since Radiohead played a secret gig there a few years back. Seriously, the energy in that room was immense, and this was before the band had even took to the stage, bathed in enough dry ice to make even Robert Smith think ‘kinell lads’.
Ricky Wilson always was a charismatic front man back then, but something has definitely changed, he is now the consummate front man personified. Totally all over the venue, up every balcony, front, back, up and down the stage like a pissed up wasp. Doing the classic call and responses…. this was far from a spent force, and unfortunately, your correspondent only got to see half the gig as his poor daughter, though thoroughly enjoying the set, couldn’t hack standing up for long. I never in a million years thought I’d want to be the one to stay. I own records by Crass.
What was evident in that hour I managed to enjoy, however, was that the new songs are equally as impressive as those indie-disco classics from the debut album period. Set opener ‘The Factory Gates’ is every bit as anthemic as ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’, and was received equally as rapturously. The loss of the drummer seems to have galvanised the band, not driven them to a lower standard.
I was proven wrong about Kaiser Chiefs, this definitely felt like a new, exciting chapter. Sometimes it’s good to be proven wrong.
All words by Christopher Lloyd. More of Christopher’s work for Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.