We haven’t seen the Kaiser Chiefs here in Los Angeles much in the past half-decade. After appearing at the Fonda in 2008, the band postponed its scheduled 2011 appearance at the same venue due to a shift in the release date of its album The Future Is Medieval, and the date was never rescheduled.
Well, nearly three more years have passed, and the band finally came back to town on February 25 to promote its fifth studio album, Education, Education, Education & War, to be released April 1. The audience at the El Rey seemed ready to forgive the erstwhile boys from Leeds and enthusiastically got into the show as if they’d never been away.
And the Chiefs were here to rock, tearing into a 90-minute set featuring fan favorites (of course) as well as songs from the upcoming album. They performed crowd-pleasing classics like “Never Miss a Beat,” “Angry Mob” and—of course—“Ruby.” The new material—“Factory Gates,” “Ruffians on Parade,” “Cannons,” “Misery Company,” “Bows and Arrows” and “Coming Home”—sounded solid and were well received by the audience, who even tentatively sang along. As if the title of the album weren’t enough of an explanation, these new songs have more of a political edge with an antiwar message. But the punky energy and infectious hooks are still there.
Frontman Ricky Wilson was a lightning bolt of energy on Tuesday night, rushing around the stage, climbing the lighting truss (which he likes to do) and even going into the audience for a sit-down sing-along. The antics were all welcomed by the fans, especially in a relatively intimate venue like the El Rey, where it felt like the band was putting on a show for a few hundred of its closest friends.
The band sounded great, too. Mates Simon Rix, Nick “Peanut” Baines and Andrew White were joined by new drummer Vijay Mistry, who replaced departing member Nick Hodgson in 2013, and he fits in just fine.
Appropriately, the final song of the evening was “Oh My God” (which I think was the final song the last time I saw them nearly seven years ago). Even Wilson seemed to know they’d been away too long when he told us, “Whenever you want us to come back, just ask.” Don’t worry, Ricky… we will.
Photos by the author.