By Grant Woodward
KAISER Chiefs had a ball warming up for tonight’s sold-out show at Leeds Town Hall – thanks to a kickabout with their footballing heroes.
The chart toppers swapped their pin-striped blazers for Leeds United shirts during a fun training session with the Whites’ first team squad yesterday.
The soccer mad Leeds lads named their band after United legend Lucas Radebe’s former club in South Africa.
Singer Ricky Wilson decided to sit out the session at the club’s Thorp Arch training ground. He told the YEP he didn’t want to look like “an idiot”.
But the rest of the band – drummer Nick Hodgson, guitarist Andrew White, bassist Simon Rix and keyboard player Nick “Peanut” Baines – couldn’t wait to get on the pitch.
“I’d love to do this every week but I’m not sure they’d have me,” said a thrilled Nick Hodgson, from Cookridge. “It’s all a bit Jim’ll Fix It isn’t it?”
The Kaisers had better not give up their day jobs though. After warming up they took part in a pass-and-shoot routine which saw them struggle to test United stopper Neil Sullivan.
Simon Rix, from Menston, said: “I felt more nervous in front of 20 people than I do playing in front of 3,500. I had one really good shot, which Neil Sullivan saved – I was hoping he’d give me one at least!”
Simon, 28 today, aims to watch the first half of Leeds’s home clash with Southampton before racing to the first of the band’s three sold-out Town Hall gigs.
Bandmate Nick Baines, from Horsforth, admitted: “After that I can safely say that my only chance of ever playing at Elland Road will be on a stage and not on the pitch,” he joked.
Andrew White, from Swillington, added: “It’s a different league to the kickabouts we have on tour – but as a Leeds fan it really was a dream come true.”
The Kaisers, who topped the charts with album Employment, promised fans their shows tonight, tomorrow and Thursday as part of the NME Rock ’n’ Roll Riot Tour would be a vast improvement on their footballing performance.
“It’s going to be amazing,” said Ricky Wilson, from Ilkley. “Think Queen and times it by 10. These shows are going to blow people’s heads off.”