Cast yourselves back to the mid-2000s, when Leeds outfit Kaiser Chiefs emerged onto the indie scene and swiftly sent listeners into a laddish frenzy which was truly representative of the musical landscape back then. It was a time where riffs hit hard, vocals soared and true anthems were born. Now fast forward to 2016, and you’ll find yourself in a time where Kaiser Chiefs are one of the last great British bands from the mid-2000s, alongside the likes of Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination for Ricky Wilson and co. to make it this far, having most recently reinvigorated their sound and injected it with a disco-laden pop sheen. New album Stay Together came out a few weeks ago, and it’s a prime example as to how you can change things up whilst still staying true to yourself. Last night, the band (together with special guests The Sore Losers) took the record to a sold out Paradiso in Amsterdam.
Taking to a stage adorned with the colourful confetti backdrop which also doubles up as Stay Together’s album cover, Wilson and co. (nicknamed Whitey, VJ, Peanut and Curly) opened the set which the polished disco-pop of new track We Stay Together. The track is a logical step in the right direction for a band who almost fell victim to repeating themselves on each record. Wilson, dressed in a yellow leather jacket, becomes a better frontman with each tour, even if he does seem relatively lethargic for the duration of the show. His attempts to jump and run across stage were often interspersed between periods of sitting on monitors and making sure that the crowd would buy Stay Together. He must have mentioned it at least ten times during the show, one which featured five songs from said album. Lead single Parachute stood out above the rest, with its bouncy chorus ensuring that nobody on the Paradiso floor stood still. The crowd at a Kaiser Chiefs show is a relatively mixed bunch of people, commonly consisting of people older than 25 reliving their teenage glory days (including one pensioner who found it necessary to grind up against a balcony railing). The glory days were very much represented during the show, with fan favourite Every Day I Love You Less and Less featuring early on. The track is one which represents the pure essence of what Kaiser Chiefs are all about – relentless fun. Whether it be in the form of a power ballad (Coming Home) or anthemic hits (I Predict a Riot and Ruby, the latter of which sparked a hefty moshpit), Kaiser Chiefs are all about having fun and enjoying yourself. “If you keep enjoying yourself, then we’ll stay together, because that’s what we’re about” claimed Wilson early on in the show, before older cuts Ruffians on Parade and Never Miss a Beat made for standout moments.
Kaiser Chiefs are one of the most incendiary live acts of this generation, despite claims that their music has taken a turn for the commercial to a point where their instantly recognizable roots may have been left behind. This isn’t the case; rather, the band have caked an extra layer of pop sheen atop a brand of indie rock which was in fear of becoming somewhat stale. Wilson will always be an absolute monster of a frontman, and he well and truly hammers this home during the encore. Opening on the bouncy Good Clean Fun, the band returned to finish off their set in front a crowd who kept begging for more. The show came to a close on old cut Oh My God, which beholds a massive chorus worthy of stadiums the world over. As the song reached its drawn-out climax, Wilson strapped a bag with three confetti canons onto his back and made his way to the opposing balcony by means of a nifty ladder. Using each hammering of the chorus to explode another cannon (below), the Paradiso ended up a sea of colour as confetti floated through the air in pure and utter glory for the evening’s curtain call. Let’s be honest: Kaiser Chiefs are not as musically ground breaking as they used to be. However, they have managed to remain successful by taking their old sound and reinvigorating it to the point where they sound like a band reborn. Wherever they go next remains to be seen, however it’s sure to be exciting. For now, though, expect to see the band play absolutely everywhere and anywhere as they take Stay Together all over the world.
Stay Together is out now. You can find more shots from last night’s show below.