Kaiser Chiefs are a weird one. They came up in the same scene as Killers and Arctic Monkeys, enjoyed huge success in the vein of Razorlight and Kings of Leon, and now seem to sit somewhere in the middle of all of those bands. It’s difficult to know who Kaiser Chiefs are for. Based on the evidence of this show, it’s just possible that Doncaster Racecourse is their ideal crowd…
As is now customary at these racecourse shows, Ricky Wilson and his band begin by commenting on how far away the crowd are from the stage. Luckily, the sound is surprisingly great all night, and there are big screens dotted around the place so everyone has a decent view. ‘Never Miss a Beat’ kicks things off as a reminder of just how many hits this band has had. The imaginatively named ‘Na Na Na Na Naa’ keeps the party going before ‘The Factory Gates’, a lesser known cut from fifth album Education, Education, Education & War tests the crowds resolve for newer material. Unsurprisingly, Donny laps it up.
Wilson takes a second to remind the crowd they are watching the ‘Legendary Kaiser Chiefs’ before also reminding us that he has been living locally (in Mexborough, no less) whilst his own house is renovated. And he’s more than welcome to stay.
‘Every Day I Love You Less and Less’ is performed with gusto and the crowd respond in kind before ‘Everything is Average Nowadays’ reminds us that Wilson is nothing if not attune to his own sense of irony. A couple of forgettable new songs clear the path for the inevitable hit parade to close things out. ‘Ruby’ is a song that Doncaster has always taken to its heart, mainly because ‘Ruby’ sounds a bit like ‘Donny’. We’re nothing if not resourceful.
Now, ‘Modern Way’, undoubtedly the Kaiser Chiefs’ best song and the best moment of tonight’s set, is a tantalizing glimpse into what could have been if the West Yorkshire band had focussed on the music rather than celebrity and success. It’s a gorgeous slice of ’80s new wave that stands as one of the finest singles of the era. And it sounds great here. Genuinely great.
‘I Predict a Riot’ and ‘Angry Mob’ turn out to be weirdly prescient as a number of worse for wear racegoers are dragged out around us by a sea of angry bouncers before the sheer enthusiasm of Wilson and his band remains impossible to deny during set closer ‘Oh My God’ – further proof that this is a band who know how to write a chorus. And as huge party streamers fly into the crowd and women with shoes held aloft grip the arms of sweating, beer-soaked men, the gig is over.
Kaiser Chiefs at the Doncaster Racecourse. It’s a winner.