|Kaiser Chiefs - Bristol, Colston Hall - 22nd February 2012|
|Written by Ian Bell|
|Wednesday, 07 March 2012 04:30|
The couple of times I have seen the Kaiser's live previous to tonight included, what turned out to be, their big break tour on the NME Rock'n'roll Riot tour of 2005. Although this was not the normal type of tour to raise my interest levels, the reissued 'Oh My God' single was riding high in the charts and this alone resulted in me purchasing a ticket for the said tour when it stopped off at Cardiff University. Having given some attention to their album 'Employment' prior to the gig, the new wave/punk rock influenced tracks within didn't prepare me for what is the Kaiser Chiefs "live", which back then was an indie rock band playing in the key of mod with a punk rock delivery. Much has happened since 2005 though, as the Kaiser Chiefs have climbed to global greatness via the arena and festival headlining route. Recently however some so called professional journos have pretty much written the lads off as the feeling has been they have struggled to better the song writing highs of that debut release. I can't really pinpoint the reasons why I haven't made any further tours since they broke out of the university/theatre circuit, maybe the releases after 'Employment' didn't truly rock my world or maybe it was as a result of my aversion to arenas and certain festivals? Whatever my reasons it wasn't until they announced this much applauded extensive smaller venue tour that I thought it was high time I reacquainted myself.
As the lights go down the intro mp3 clicks in and whispering from the PA can be heard - "I want my MTV" - immediate panic is confirmed, as the unmistakable drum roll that ushers in Dire Straits' 'Money For Nothing' belts out like a bad dream from the 80's. This alone could kick the Uber Rock creditability debate into touch with one mighty wallop but luckily we're not tortured with the full version as the Kaiser Chiefs stride onto the stage with the confidence of returning heroes and tonight's proceedings are opened up with 'Everyday I Love You less And Less'. Ricky Wilson resplendent in a rock'n'roll approved denim jacket covered in patches, takes hold and leads the show from the start as all good frontmen should, the bass guitar of Simon Rix is low and mean, Nick Baines strikes classic rock stood up attack on keyboards, and the drums of Nick Hodgson keeping things tight, oh yes we have the very basic requirements of a band flying through Uber Rock quality control. Well that is, if only Andrew White's guitar wasn't slung so god damn high, like a member of a hundred indie Beatle tribute bands, and breaking the basic guitar below cock rule of any serious punk rock musician worth their salt, but thankfully his very presence and the sounds he produces kick that theory into touch.
'Never Miss a Beat' provides the opportunity for Ricky Wilson to make tambourine playing look cool and the future in how to gain female attention, whilst 'Little Shocks' and 'Everything Is Average Nowadays' keeps the momentum shuffling along before 'Good Days Bad Days' provides the groove and kick for the first crowd and band shout along interaction of the night. Nick Baines leaves the safety of the keyboard zone to take up a position stage front to introduce 'Modern Way', before things pick up pace with a tongue in cheek nod to 'On the Run', a new song being top of the Billboard chart in the USA and providing the build up to the great crowd awakenings of'Ruby', 'The Angry Mob', 'Na Na Na Na Naa' and 'Starts With Nothing'. 'I Predict a Riot' pretty much starts one, as fists pump along in synch with the chorus line, and I'm nearly breaking into a pogo, 'Kinda Girl You Are' follows before Ricky Wilson disappears from the stage only to reappear at the front of the overhanging balcony for 'Take My Temperature'. 'Listen to Your Head' slows everything right down though to end the set. The encore starts with 'Love's Not a Competition' which doesn't exactly get things back up to full swing but what better way to end the evening than with the song that started it all for me 'Oh My God'.
So was it worth the trip to Bristol tonight? The answer can only be "most definitely", brilliant venue, and brilliant sound from one of the best live bands out there based on this performance. Kaiser Chief's for me are a band that on album are good but come into their own live, and if they could get the live energy onto a record they would take over the world again. Although if the rumours are true, the Kaiser's will be back headlining festivals near you very soon. I will probably just wait for the next extensive and relatively intimate tour - but that's just me.