Kaiser Chiefs: Brighton Dome, Tuesday April 25
Goodbye 'Employment', hello more jobs
So farewell then, ‘Employment’. We’ve been through so much together. We splutterd: “I! Predicted! A! Riot!” as we got mugged at the bus stop, hoping the balaclava-clad crims would get our knowing indie reference and leave us our Budgens Fish Supper (if not our dignity). It didn’t work. ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’ grew with meaning as our hastily-forgotten summer fling left us with but one terrifyingly lasting memento: reoccurring crabs. We even defended your right to release every last bottom burp as a single – credibility’s version of being caught frolicking with Jodie Marsh’s candy thong in the toilets of China White’s. We do slightly regret that permanent tattoo of Peanut on our face, but you live and you learn, eh? Oh, lovely ‘Employment’, we lived and breathed you. So now what?
With 1.8million households possibly thinking and doing the same, these sold out, stadium-tastic shows – billed as a ‘farewell’ to that debut- are a testament to how far Kaisers have come. We can’t help feeling a little bittersweet at seeing our favourite end-of-the-pier careerists move out of the Camden bedsit and take permanent residence in Chez Bigtime where Mexican waving, massive foam fingers and insincere thank-yous to the dry ice man are the norm. Come back to the five and dime, Kaiser Chiefs, Kaiser Chiefs.
We are ripped out of this nostalgic fug, by the defiant keyboard ringing of ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’. The Vegas-style red curtain peels back it’s gold encrypted “K” and “C” to reveal the cocksure fivesome. Ricky kick jumps and it’s clear that it is still party time at the house formerly called Parva.
With ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Na Na Na Na Na Naa’ slipping through the speakers with the familiar appeal of a favourite shirt, what becomes clear is that this is band which might be – gulp – better suited for stadiums than the smaller stage.
The evidence: the arena-sized version of their biggest hit (‘OMG’ has become a gargantuan seven-minute call and response beast), Ricky’s serenading of a fan during ‘You Can Have It All’ (“The lovely Rachel,” looks bemused like she’s accidentally stepped into an *NSync gig) and the creek of pantomime magic dust that causes The Rickster to appear- David Blaine-like- at the back of the Dome to sing ‘Caroline Yes’.
That they do this without becoming Genesis is one thing, that they do this with style and wit is quite another. And that’s hard for the indie Grinch inside us to admit.
In fact if there is to be a hitch in this finely-oiled machine, it would be the new songs. Even Oasis at Glaso ’04 had throngs of festival-goers collapsing into a vegetative state, their stupefying dead-eyed coma a result of the chilling utterance “Here’s a couple you won’t know”.
And so it proves Kaisers ‘new ones’ are an intriguing bunch. ‘Heat Dies Down’ is Kaisers-by-numbers more musical than anything else they’ve done before but packs a killer chorus. ‘Learnt My Lesson’ starts off with Burundi drums then develops into a Britpop belter. Never have those early Blur comparisons sounded more apt. However it is only with ‘Highroyds’ (nope, us neither) that we get a glimpse into how great their second album could be. A glam stomp that borrows heavily from Bowie’s ‘Suffragette City’ it sounds edgier than anything they’ve recorded before.
We were a bit sceptical about Kaiser Stadium size, but something stranger than them getting grander and bolder has happened – they’ve got even better than before. Phew, indie crisis averted!