Gig review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown with photography by Ken Harrison

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“This is a public service announcement. Welcome the people of Wolverhampton to Wolverhampton Civic Halls. Tonight performing for your delectation and entertainment will be the Kaiser Chiefs supported by Public Service Broadcasting. Thank you for coming along and enjoy tonight’s performance. Yes.”

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Indeed first up we announce Public Service Broadcasting. An eclectic mix of indie Joy Division inspiration mash-up with Kraftwerk and full on retro inspired by the public service broadcasts and archives of yesteryear, sampled and set to new music. They are a musical entity based in London. The band don’t speak – they ‘announce.’ The classical posh voice from those broadcasts remixed to announce – “We are Public Service Broadcasting. We come in peace for all mankind.”

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PSB are uniquely different their rhythmic electronic indie beat rolls round the venue, on the screens retro footage. “It’s great to be here to support the Kaiser Chiefs in Wolverhampton. Yes.” Their new album is inspired by the space race ‘The Race for Space’ and they play us new single ‘Gagarin’; their set completed with ‘Everest.’ As they state: “This is our last song. God speed people of Wolverhampton.”  PSB are out and about over the spring including a special and unique gig at the the National Space Centre in Leicester at the end of February. Well work checking out.

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And so to the interlude as we take our refreshments and wait for the main men.  Formed way back in ‘96, the Kaiser Chiefs released their classic debut album ‘Employment’ in ‘05 featuring indie pop hits ‘I Predict a Riot’, ‘Every Day I Love You Less and Less’, ‘Oh My God’ and ‘Modern Way.’ Hugely successful, it was one of the best selling albums of ‘06, and was followed by ‘Yours Truly, Angry Mob’, which yielded No.1 hit ‘Ruby.’  The Kaiser consist of Ricky Wilson (vocals), Andrew ‘Whitey” White (guitar), Simon Rix (bass) and Nick ‘Peanut’ Baines (keyboards) and new drummer Vijay Mistry (of Club Smith who supported them last year) after Nick Hodgson recently moved on to pastures new. The Kaiser Chiefs have sold over a million albums so far – Ricky is now a familiar sight on our Saturday night TV as being on of the judges on ‘The Voice’, right in the middle of his second stint with the show. 2014 brought new album ‘Education, Education, Education and War’ voted by XFM as one of the top 50 albums of that year. New single ‘Falling Awake’ has just been released to accompany this tour. And later in the year they’ll be mucking around and supporting the Foo Fighters on their World tour. The Kaiser Chief’s have come en masse tonight – outside there’s three luxury coaches and five huge road trucks bringing their show to Wolverhampton. The Kaiser Chiefs are on the march onwards and upwards.

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And now we announce the main act. The stage is suddenly drenched in a massive blanket of dry ice as KC take to the stage. There is a huge cheer and somewhere through the fog drenched stage we’re into first song ‘Factory Gates.’  And then they crank it up  here come the hits ‘Every Day I Love You Less and Less’ (oh yes and yes) and ‘Everything is Average Nowdays’. Ricky is his hugely energetic and frenetic self already – the showman – as he leaps onto the front barrier over the crowd, a bouncer clinging to his belt so he doesn’t fall.

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‘Ruffians on Parade’ from their 2014 album, he’s all over the stage standing above the drummer – smashing the symbols with a drum stick he then hurls into the audience. Sing again ‘Na Na Na Na Naa’. He tells us this is the finest city in the world  and he’s been to them all…. (shucks – we bet he says that to all the cities ) and he screams – just like Noddy Holder as we go into ‘My Life.’ Ricky’s stripped off now – sleeveless T – and his on the move. ‘Angry Mob’ starts up and he’s up walking around the edges of the mezzanine upstairs floor – ’til he takes to the corner leans over and pumps the air as we must chant …“We are the angry mob, we read the papers every day, we like who we like, we hate who we hate. But we’re also easily swayed.” He stands in the middle or the mezzanine – over out heads – spotlighted – “They think they can relax cos they’ve got seats’ he says to the crowd behind him and gets the seated and standing punters in a sing off before next track ‘Cannons.’ He maybe above our heads now but there’s a Go Pro camera fixed to his mike, screened live to the stage we can see him. The atmosphere has certainly cranked up.

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‘The Occupation’ from the 2014 album  is on the screes and sees cartoon, words and music reflecting the stupidity of the oil wars which leads us into ‘Roses’  – a ballad. Next up we’re in soppy bit. Time to hold hands with the one you love. Last track off first album ’Team Mate’, as we scoot into psychedelia. Tripping man. Think 60s love baby. Ricky goes mad with dry ice machine. Literally.

Clap – insists the drummer. We do. Time to party again. All post 90’s Brit-pop with ‘Modern Way.’ before their Chant No. 1 ‘ Never Miss a Beat.’

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“What would you like us to play next?” he asks as the guitarist dabbles with chords from  ‘Smoke on the Water.” It’s to a random band member to decide. Band members’ names roll on the screens – ‘new’ member drummer VJ wins. He’s the he new Nick, Ricky tells us. Chants go up VJ, VJ,VJ. Stands for vagina jockey apparently. After some rambling ‘Heat Dies Down’ is chosen. Sam the fan at the front knows all the words just in case Ricky forgets.

And to follow up, he knows all the words to this one. So do the 3,000 people of Wolverhampton. ‘Ruby’ baby. And while we be singing. – how about a ‘Riot’. Okay then. Here we go…. “Wooooooo woooooooo”. One polite, full-on riot.

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The band start up with The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’. EVERYONE sings from the word go. “Thank you very much Wolves – you been brill we really appreciate it – he’s definitely coming back.” He’s ‘Coming Home’. Audience arms sway  side to side. We’re singing again. And it’s snowing paper.

And now to their interlude – and on screen be Dave Grohl – screaming at the band – as we see them back stage and him ripping them to shreds in a rip-roaring expletive-laden funny team building speech – before ordering the band back out on stage…

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And clearly it rubs off on Ricky –  he goes all rock and an expletive-laden intro to new single – ‘Falling Awake’. “You can be the loudest venue. How loud can you go?” We respond relatively quietly. “I shall ask that question in not such a rhetorical question…” as he takes us into a loudness challenge.  As we chant Kaiser Chiefs between the two sides as they take us into the dark mesmeric, rhythmic ‘Misery Company.’

Bless the Lord it’s ‘Oh My God’. “Oh my God I can’t believe it, never been this far away from home….” the words are on screen but we do not need them and the chant cranks up to a scream. The Go Pro is back so we can see the intensity on Ricky’s face. Then camera dropped. Streamers in the air, another gig done.

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The Kaisers put in full on energy and commitment into their live shows. As Ricky said on ‘The Voice’ – he’s a showman, a frontman and they’re jolly friendly, jolly nice, down to earth chaps. The Kaisers have a huge back catalogue of  football’ chant songs that 1. sold, 2. everyone knows and 3. are a huge win with the crowd at live shows. I’ve seen nostalgia bands with fewer hits re-appearing after twenty years absence. It really must be quite amazing to have written those songs with the lyrics that everyone knows and listen to the crowd sing them back to you. What a buzz. And they’re off around the world and the impression one Mr. Dave Growl will have on them – who knows what the future will have for them. And we leave with the chants running through our heads, as we maybe a polite and friendly bunch but… “We are the angry mob, we read the papers every day, we like who we like, we hate who we hate. But we’re also easily swayed..…”

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“This is a Public Service Announcement: Thank you for coming along tonight. God speed people of Wolverhampton.”

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Quick mention about the Pilgrim Bandits. Not a band but a charity, which the Kaiser Chiefs are taking around the country on their entire tour once again. Formed in 2007 by a small group of Special Forces veterans, this group have the sole aim of using their unique experience to help and inspire wounded soldiers to live life to the full, through pushing boundaries, working with youth and funding research into areas such as prosthetic limbs.  Pilgrim Bandits raise monies, but don’t ask for charity, they ask for your support. Check them out and see what you can do to support them at: www.pilgrimbandits.org

Setlist
Factory Gates
Every Day I Love You Less and Less
Everything is Average Nowdays
Ruffians on Parade
Na Na Na Na Naa
My Life
Angry Mob
Cannons
The Occupation
Roses
Team Mate
Modern Way
Never Miss A Beat
Heat Dies Down
Take My Temperature
Ruby
I Predict A Riot
Pinball Wizard
Coming Home

Encore:
Falling Awake
Misery Company
Oh My God

Listening:
Employment (2005)
Yours Truly, Angry Mob (2007)
Off With Their Heads (2008)
The Future Is Medieval (2011)
Souvenir -The Singles 2004-2012 (2012)
Education, Education, Education and War (2014)

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