Chief Kaiser, Ricky Wilson, was a bit croaky.
Possibly having one of those “Jesus, it’s been a long tour,” moments. You imagine him backstage, flopped on the Commodore Ballroom’s pleather green room sofa after the show, uttering silently to himself “thank god that’s over” and perhaps grunting.
But it was only stop 2. AKA the slightly rusty stop. Jetlag can be a bitch.
Nevermind. Ricky Wilson is a soldier, apparently. He marches in the pop wars. And, as a judge on the UK version of The Voice, the singer of the Kaiser Chiefs knows a lot about showmanship. And so, the showmanship must go on. And it did.
Playing to a much smaller crowd than they deserved (the band was due to play last September but rescheduled to April), the Kaisers came on, with Ricky all eye-contact and smiles, arms aloft. “We are the Angry Mob,” fans shouted back, and they were anything but. By “Everything is Average Nowadays,” Ricky was in the audience, holding hands and singing out, closer, into the faces. The man knows his moves. High kicks, spins, the mic-on-stand tilt. Arena-sized moves in a mid-sized ballroom. Perching on the amp boxes as if missiving from the Mount, or bellowing from atop the bass drum, Wilson gave good face, even the voice that came out of it was craggy.
Driving through the mid-00s via the greatest hits highway, the Chiefs played only three tracks from their new album Education, Education, Education and War (“Ruffians on Parade”, “My Life” and “Coming Home” to close out the set before the encore), even joking that “this is a new one, you won’t even know the lyrics.”
But lyrics were what the fans knew for mega-crowd-pleas-y “Modern Way” (“this is the Modern WAYYyyyyyyyycroak”), “Na Na Na Na Naa” (okay the lyrics are piss-easy for that one), “Every Day I Love You Less and Less” and even a few recognized their Who “Pinball Wizard” cover. But the ground really did heave – and I do mean heave, the Commodore Ballroom is famous for having tires and horsehair underneath its soft wooden floors and creates its own subtle bouncy castle vibe if enough people leap in time. By the time the Kaisers injected “Ruby”, leading into “I Predict A Riot”, and ending on “Oh My God”, folks had gosh-darned lost their heads. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Arena-sized songs to a mid-sized crowd? Tuesday night has actually never sounded better. \m/
Click on the photos to embiggen, the other halves of their faces, and scroll through!