The new British Invasion hit the TLA Wednesday night with the first proper Philly show by Britpop quintet, Kaiser Chiefs. The band opened Live 8 a few weeks earlier, but a couple of songs to an audience there to see The Black Eyed Peas and Will Smith hardly counts.
The Kaiser Chiefs have been creating considerable buzz for their hook-filled songs about partying, love and, well, riots. “Oh My God” and “I Predict a Riot” anchor the bands debut album, Employment, which is a versatile romp that never stops delivering something you can dance or groove to. The Kaisers brought the house down in their first Glastonbury appearance, bagged a Mercury Prize nomination for Employment, and will be headlining NME’s Rock-n-Roll Riot Tour in the fall. And, of course, the biggest prize of all–a golden review of Employment from yours truly. The fivesome found time to hit the States for a run of shows this month.
Fellow Brits and pop newcomers (and brothers) The Cribs opened for Kaiser Chiefs, and brought a shitload of energy to a show that already promised to be turned up to 11. The hard rock attitude of the three brothers was on full display for a sold out crowd at The TLA. Count me as an attendee who will be looking into this band in the near future. They have 2 songs available for free download on their site here.
The Kaiser Chiefs emerged to play for a considerably younger crowd than I have seen recently at shows in Philly. The black eyeliner seen at the Troc for Bloc Party was replaced by pink to match the pumps the chicks were wearing for the Kaisers. Moshing? Not at this show. Lots of energy and love for the band, but no pulsating ass-kicking in the middle of the floor, even when lead singer Ricky Wilson jumped off stage and walked nearly to the back of the crowd during one of the songs.
The band played almost all of their songs off of Employment, including an unnamed (at least to my poorly trained ear for British accents) new song that certainly fit the mold of a Kaiser Chiefs tune. Highlights included “Everyday I Love You Less and Less”, “I Predict a Riot”, and the showstopper, “Oh My God”.
The band has a real party on stage, with Wilson leading the antics. His lack of instrument playing allows him free reign as he jumps, dances and jitters his way around and off the stage. It was difficult getting pictures of him since many of them turned out to be literally blurs of him running around. It felt almost like a ska show or some college group playing in terms of the band’s energy and interaction with the crowd.
The Kaiser Chiefs have their fair share of detractors, who see them as putting fun over music. Never mind those wet blankets. Sure, The Kaisers won’t knock you over with self-serious lyrics about politics or global warming, but there are plenty of bands for that. And there’s also tons of room for bands capable of delivering pop hooks by the dozens and letting their hair down for some good old Rock N Roll debauchery.
More pictures of the show here.