By Tiffany Bowman
WARNING. Spoilers for anyone who is attending any of the Kaiser Chief UK tour dates.
Standing outside the Liverpool Echo Arena, there are about ten more of us waiting. It’s 4:30pm and the doors don’t open until 6:30pm. Its freezing cold. I’m making exceptions, however, because this is my first ever music gig and we’re here to see the Kaiser Chiefs.
The Kaiser Chiefs had a great year with the success of their album, Education Education Education and War last year, achieving number one. They have also recently supported the Foo Fighters on their tour dates in South America.
Despite the long wait, we were able to get to the very front of the stage and it was certainly worth the extra effort. Front man Ricky Wilson is renowned for his stage antics and so we were treated to a lot of Ricky exposure, much to my sister’s delight.
Support act Public Service Broadcasting performed a half hour set beforehand. Having not been familiar with their music, I was pleasantly surprised by their quirky, appealing style. The duo take samples from old public information films and mix them with drums, banjos and keyboards. Not only do they sound amazing, but each track they performed was informative and extremely engaging. I think the best songs are the ones that tell stories and Public Service Broadcasting achieve this to perfection. What I also like about the duo was the way they engaged with the crowd. Between each song, a pre-recorded voice would thank the audience ‘very much’ and then there would be a deliberate pause before they said ‘Liverpool’ to poke fun at the fact that they would have to insert a different city at each venue they visited.
I imagine it is hard to be the support act, especially to such a successful band like the Kaiser Chiefs. Nevertheless, they certainly left a good impression on the crowd and I will definitely be following their music.
Like their support act, the Kaiser Chiefs have left a very good impression on me. Having only started following their music recently, it was good to see a lot of their new tracks on the set list, as well as some of the classics. The band came on through a cloud of mist (quite literally, in fact) and opened with a not so well known song called ‘The Factory Gates’ which had the crowd dancing and up on their feet from the very start. This was then followed by more familiar hits such as ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’ and ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’. One of my favourite performances of the night was ‘Roses’, another track off the latest album which has never been performed live before. Melancholic and reflective, the song conveys a sense of national brooding after some hard times. We were also treated to a visual-audio recording of Bill Nighy reading the poem The Occupation after the song ‘Cannons’, another favourite.
As well as strong lyrics and melodies, the Kaiser Chiefs put on a brilliant show. Their success is partly down to the way they engage with their fans. Halfway through, Ricky Wilson informs us how hard it is to choose the songs they will perform and to put everyone’s tweet requests into the setlist. As a result, they have decided to use a ‘Band Generator’ to choose the next song. Keyboardist Peanut is the lucky band member who gets to choose and he picks ‘Little Shocks’, a down-played song from their fourth album. Guitarist Whitey even takes a poke at his choice, suggesting he should have choose something like ‘I Predict a Riot’. Ricky also makes the effort to try and reach out to all the fans, going off the stage during ‘The Angry Mob’ to perform to the seated fans and those further back. However, it is their latest anthem ‘Coming Home’ which produces the best spectacle. The song talks about returning home and the band had cleverly created a visual montage of Liverpool landmarks which were shown throughout the performance. Arms in the air, the crowds were then treated to a rainfall of confetti during the peak of the song.
During the intermission, we were also treated to a ‘glimpse backstage’ where we see the band celebrating the success of the gig they’ve just performed. They are then confronted by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighter criticising their performance and challenging each band member in turn. The result is hilarious and when the band return back onstage, Ricky tells the crowd: “You’ll never believe what has just happened backstage. I wish they had hidden cameras,” much to the crowd’s amusement.
Most importantly though, this tour seems to be about proving their dedication to making music. Among familiar hits was the new song ‘Falling Awake’ which most of the crowd were already singing along to. Ricky tells the crowd towards the end that they hope to return very soon and the noise from the crowd suggests that they would be very welcome indeed.
Overall, my first experience of a music gig could not have been better. While more crowd interaction would have been great, it was good to have so many songs on the set list and the transitions between each one were very smooth. Coming out of the Arena, there was certainly a buzz in the air and on my way home on the train, a girl was still singing ‘Ruby’ all the way back to Manchester.
Tiffany Bowman is a student and writer, studying English and Creative Writing. Follow her on twitter @Tiffster221