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The Kaiser Chiefs Live Review Bournemouth International Center 28/1/2020

Having only seen The Kaiser Chiefs at festivals I was quite intrigued to see them host their own show. Front-man Ricky Wilson is legendary at geeing up the random festival audiences, so does he need to make such an effort in front of a partisan crowd?

Turns out that the image of a typical KC fan I had imagined could not be further from the truth. One was expected a crowd of mid 30’s white indie fans – flashing some  Stereophonics and  Embrace tattoos. instead there was a mass of grey haired fifty something’s sat waiting to be called into the venue. I had to double check the venue details to confirm that I had not accidentally booked to see  Wet Wet Wet. Maybe Wilson’s time judging hopefuls on  The Voice had boosted the groups fan base, but not necessarily the expected audience.

The crowd were now adequately warmed up and raring to see this Yorkshire heroes, the curtain came down to reveal a stage transformed. BIC had not seen such stagecraft since well the last Christmas panto, The Kaiser Chiefs were placed on the rooftop of a filthy bar called Duck (their latest album title) whilst the rest of the stage laden with huge upturned tyre and another stage beneath a huge video screen. As the band kicked into ‘People Know How To Love One Another’ it became clear, that though it was a lovely idea to have such a high concept stage, having the band play on a cramped makeshift roof at the back of the stage could be a mistake.

The mainly seated BIC centre had already encountered Hull’s raucous  Life (their in your face rock n roll was maybe more suited to supporting Idles than a mid 00’s indie-pop act), before  Razorlight took the stage. Having witnessed  Johnny Borrell, et al’s glorious Victorious festival performance last year I expected them to transform the venue into a mass fist-pumping sing along. Sadly, apart from a few ripples near the front the quintet tried their best but could only manage a limp reaction from 90% of the crowd, seemingly they had only ever heard ‘ America‘ and none of the former top ten hits. Hats off to Razorlight for putting in the effort and a reminder as to how good a band they are with a thrilling back catalogue, they really are due another chance to climb the ladder of success.

The crowd were now adequately warmed up and raring to see this Yorkshire heroes and the curtain came down to reveal a stage transformed. BIC had not seen such stage craft since, well, the last Christmas panto. The Kaiser Chiefs were placed on the roof top of a filthy bar called Duck (their latest album title) whilst the rest of the stage laden with huge upturned tyre and another stage beneath a huge video screen. As the band kicked into ‘ People Know How To Love One Another’ it became clear that though it was a lovely idea to have such a high concept stage, having the band play on a cramped makeshift roof at the back of the stage could be a mistake. The distance from the audience created a disconnection from the band and it felt like we were watching TV rather than being at an event. It would be a couple of songs in that they moved from the roof-top to the main stage that the real ‘show’ actually kicked in and Wilson could engage with the fans. ‘ Na, Na, Na, Na, Naa‘ followed by ‘ Everything Is Average Nowadays‘ was a great way to get our attention.

The newer tracks such as ‘Parachute‘ felt like a comedown. From my seat I could see dozens of little lit up screens as people were glancing at their phones until they recognised a song. They soon moved their phones to camera mode to snap RW run out back and to return to a mini stage at the back of the standing section next to the soundboard. RW performed another track from ‘Duck’ before inviting a fan (Victoria) on stage to play hook a duck and choose the next track from their back catalogue – a nice little gimmick too.

A return to the roof top for RW to sit down and drink before dropping ‘ Coming Home‘. I did feel for the rest of the band having to watch RW perform on a seperate stage – how happy are they for this to be the Ricky Wilson show? They did seem to be enjoying themselves as they moved into the big hitters playing ‘ Everyday I Love You Less and Less‘, ‘Ruby‘ and ‘Modern Way‘ in a row. By now there were people from the seated section actually on their feet with their phones back in their pockets as the band performed more and more of their greatest hits: ‘ Never Miss A Beat‘, ‘ I Predict A Riot‘ and ending with ‘ The Angry Mob‘. 

The older generation of fans by now had even begun to clap along but many couldn’t wait long enough for the encore and dozens left the venue, whilst the band were sat on the rooftop of the Duck sipping drinks. The ‘surprise’ encore may have been a comedown for some as quite a few of the people around me were not too fussed with ‘Record Collection‘ or ‘Hole In My Soul‘, but they bloody loved ‘Oh My God‘ and the Kaiser Chiefs loved every minute, they milked the chorus for an age as confetti poured from the heavens and left the sea side residents beaming. The Kaiser Chiefs have been together 20 years (in one guise or another) and they really know how to add value for money.