Kaiser Chiefs
Razzmatazz, Barcelona, 15.02.2014

The Kaiser Chiefs are one of those bands who had the pulses of indie kids across England racing back in the mid 2000’s, but by now, maybe they have slipped off of that radar slightly. My first memory of the Leeds quintet was downloading a 30 second ringtone clip of ‘I Predict A Riot’ as a 10 year old back in 2004, after probably being introduced to them by my Dad (the fucking hipster). After a string of mega hits from the first two albums (and one from the third), the band took a brief hiatus before returning with the novel idea of allowing fans to listen to 20 30 second clips of songs before designing their own version of fourth album ‘The Future Is Medieval’. Despite the ideology behind the release, the album was, in my opinion, a disappointment that failed to live up to their previous work. Now, as they prepare to release fifth album ‘Eduacation, Education, Education & War’ I gratefully accepted the opportunity to take a short stroll to Razzmatazz, a fantastic venue in Barcelona, to see the band perform, praying that the new songs can’t be worse than the new album title.

One thing that has never been doubted is Ricky’s frontman credentials, he’s full of energy and bounces round the stage like Tigger on coke. But more recently the band’s songs have been put into question, even more so now that drummer and main songwriter Nick Hodgson has departed. The Kaiser Chiefs stroll onto the stage to the sound of ‘War’ by Edwin Starr and are met by rapturous applause. They begin with one of the new songs, ‘The Factory Gates’ before launching into three of their classics, ‘Never Miss A Beat’, ‘Everything Is Average Nowadays’ and ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’. Wilson milks every little piece of energy out of the adoring crowd as he swaggers around the stage, testing his Spanish skills between songs.

After getting the crowd excited with some older songs, the band then opt to sample some newer tracks, with ‘Bows And Arrows’ and ‘Coming Home’ being separated by 2011’s ‘Little Shocks’. These songs seem to be a slight dampener on the crowd, who, having been riled up by the old tunes, seem disappointed by the new ones. The songs seem like the band are desperate to reproduce a chorus like that of ‘Ruby’ to propel themselves back into the charts, but are just falling short. The lyrics are poor and the songs are scruffy, with the best of them coming from new drummer Vijay Mistry, who seems full of energy.

At the halfway point of the set the band revert to the older material, following ‘You Can Have It All’ with ‘Modern Way’, with the latter sending the audience into delirium, as keyboardist Nick Baines steps forward to encourage a sea of clapping hands across the venue. With another new number slotted inbetween, ‘Ruffians On Parade’, the boys then proceed to play what could possibly be classed as one of the best two song streaks in noughties indie, with ‘I Predict A Riot’ being followed by ‘Ruby’. The Catalan crowd goes crazy as Ricky begins to smash a symbol and the opening riff of ‘I Predict A Riot’ kicks in before the frontman offers the microphone to the crowd During ‘Ruby’ and gets more than what he expected in return, as the people reply by singing every word back to him so loud and impressively that the hairs on the back of my neck were left standing.

The band finish the initial set with ‘The Angry Mob’, with Ricky re-introducing the band, “Somos the Kaiser Chiefs, Somos The Angry Mob…’ and as they leave the stage the chorus is still echoing through the venue in the voice of the fans, before cheers of “one more song” (which is highly amusing when heard with a slight Spanish accent) take over. The Band return to the stage to finish up with one new song ‘Cannons’ and one last classic, 2004’s ‘Oh My God’, leaving the stage with the microphone left swinging above the audience and two poor fuckers trying to de-tangle it from the roof whilst the curtains draw shut and the projector screens re-appear.

The Kaiser Chiefs’ older song will always have that indie nostalgic glow to them, but unfortunately the new songs just don’t compare. Despite the disappointment in the new songs, the band still put on an incredible show and were met by an audience who put in an equally as impressive performance.

Alfi Shipp

Pix from http://www.treintayunacanciones.com

Thanks to Estella at Razzmatazz for organizing things