Live Review

Kaiser Chiefs, Manchester Academy

Their live formula is one that feels natural and one that they should stick to because, well, it works.

‘I’m behiiiiiiiind you.’

Ricky Wilson, abandoning the main stage at Manchester Academy, plays Pantomime with fans from what seems to be the venue’s own Bermuda Triangle (but turns out to be the Sound Engineer’s booth).

You might think that the lack of airplay or commercial attention for ‘The Future Is Medieval’ means that fans no longer care about Kaiser Chiefs, but selling out two successive dates at Manchester Academy 1 shows that the Leeds quintet are still a band that people will pay their wages to see live.

Whether or not you listen to them at home of your own will, Kaiser Chiefs have crafted a number of bouncy and infuriatingly catchy pop songs, which feel perfect to pogo around to, particularly in a venue of this size. Even a football chant like ‘The Angry Mob’, which is fairly static on record, seems more anthemic than ever in light of recent events (see: The Leveson Enquiry, Hugh Grant etc.), something which Ricky Wilson and co. milk to their max by adding an a cappella twist to the mix.

The new material is, of course, outnumbered by the old and even Ricky jokes ‘You guys don’t want to just hear old stuff, do you?’, but the songs seem to fit in nicely around their cooler, older cousins. ‘Kinda Girl You Are’ is as breezy and enjoyable as a lot of their early material (perhaps that’s why Lady Gaga, Britney and Beyonce made an appearance in the video), and a great segue from ‘I Predict A Riot’ into the punk-pop of ‘Take My Temperature’.

Frankie & The Heartstrings also put their stamp on the playful indie brand earlier in the night and had it not been for a shorter stage time, Frankie may have posed a real threat to Ricky’s stage-jumps-per-minute rate.

Like a fun Uncle, a lot of Kaiser Chiefs’ likability comes down to their undeniable charm and onstage charisma as opposed to their meaningful lyrics or ‘heavy music, man.’ They’re keen to get us to sing our ‘Ahs’ and ‘Na na na na na”s in all the right places, and seem genuinely happy to be hanging out with us on a Friday night. Their live formula is one that feels natural and one that they should stick to because, well, it works. Simple as.

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