Listen to Kaiser Chiefs on Rhapsody...

Words By: Robyn Rubinstein :: Images from www.kaiserchiefs.co.uk

Kaiser Chiefs :: 04.27.07 :: Warfield Theatre :: San Francisco, CA

Kaiser Chiefs :: 02.21.07
Is the music scene in Leeds, England old news and I've just been slow to catch on? I hardly knew Leeds existed until I befriended the New Mastersounds at High Sierra Music Festival in 2005. Shortly thereafter, I discovered that Nightmares on Wax, a trip-hop artist who sits high on my list of favorites, hails from Yorkshire, a mere 14 miles from Leeds. Then I discovered the annual Leeds Music Festival, (a northern leg of the Reading Festival) whose lineup this year includes, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Kings of Leon, The Shins and Nine Inch Nails. Clearly, Leeds is fertile ground for music, so consequently, if you're a band from Leeds, you automatically get my attention now.

Kaiser Chiefs :: 02.21.07
Though Kaiser Chiefs have been a presence on the US music scene since 2005, they've only entered my radar recently. Their sound encompasses Brit-pop, new wave, post-punk and a dollop of indie rock, all held together with a thick cord of classic guitar rock. Comprised of Ricky Wilson (lead vocals,), Andrew "Whitey" White (guitar), Simon Rix (bass), Nick "Peanut" Baines (keyboards) and Nick Hodgson (drums/vocals), the band formed in the summer of 2003 with the goal of earning an early slot at the Leeds Music Festival. They accomplished that goal easily and in the process stormed the UK singles and US modern rock charts with the songs "Oh My God" and "I Predict a Riot" from their first album, Employment. Employment was regarded as a promising, eclectic, post-punk success. Their second album, Yours Truly, Angry Mob (released 2/5/07 on Universal/Polydor), has received lukewarm reviews, with the general feeling among critics being that in spite of being addictive music, the lyrics lack substance.

Their show at The Warfield was an interesting study in what happens when songs tread that fine line between empirically catchy and insipid. The band has an undeniably fiery stage presence that drew me in and trapped me like fly paper. Once stuck - and forced to give my undivided attention - it was hard to tell if being stuck was a good thing or not. Ricky Wilson is the consummate frontman - cute, captivating and seemingly just tortured enough to express his anger musically. "Ruby," their hit radio single, is an upbeat, easily accessible power pop tune that almost dares the listener not to crank it up and sing along. That is until the line, "Due to lack of interest/ tomorrow is cancelled." At that point, I had to cringe a bit.

Kaiser Chiefs :: 02.21.07
That feeling of slightly embarrassed enjoyment is emblematic of their live performance. "The Angry Mob" has vicious, weighty guitar riffs that feel like a soccer riot about to explode, until the coda, "We are the angry mob/ we read the papers everyday/ we like who we like/ hate who we hate/ but we're also easily swayed." I thought that was the definition of mob mentality. Seems a little obvious, no? "Everything is Average Nowadays" is another high-octane punk-infused endeavor but I can't imagine punks pogo jumping and screaming, "Everything is of no consequence/ 'cause everyone is sitting on the fence."

Musically, the Kaiser Chiefs deliver a nice dose of high-energy, guilty Brit-pop pleasure. Lyrically, they are medium grade poets who undermine their own musical style. In spite of that, I still sing out loud and rock out to specific songs when alone in the car. However, I always make sure that the windows are rolled up, and no one else can hear me.

JamBase | San Francisco
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[Published on: 5/21/07]

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shainhouse starstarstarstar Tue 5/22/2007 02:38AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

The scene in Leeds is one of the best in the UK. I used to live there, and thankfully was introduced to these guys ages ago. Check out iLiKETRAiNS, This Et Al, The Research (from Wakefield) and Saandman Magazine as well. Good write-up Robyn :)

All Loving Liberal White Guy Tue 5/22/2007 10:45AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

All Loving Liberal White Guy

I'll second Shain when giving big ups to iLiKETRAiNS. Good band.

Daddyphatsacks Tue 5/22/2007 10:51AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


The review is of the Warfield from 4.27.07. What venue is in these pics from 2.21.07? Looks tight.

bigchris star Wed 5/23/2007 12:25PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

why couldn't you post pics from the show you actually attended?

I was at this show at it was very disappointing. This band has very little orginallity and is loaded with wuss-rock cliches, like many of the 'Mtv' bands today. Boring singing and musical arrangements. Go see the Artic Monkeys if you want to see an up and coming British band with some exciting music and energy.

Tall starstarstarstar Thu 5/24/2007 12:52PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


That was a nice read. They're fun although I know how you feel about them.

Tiny Dancer Thu 6/7/2007 11:01PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Tiny Dancer

fyi - i don't post the pics. i just write about it. thanks for reading it :)