Gig review: Kaiser Chiefs at Leeds First Direct Arena

Kaiser Chiefs at Leeds Arena, 'Ricky Wilson doing one of his trademark leap  Picture: Steve Riding
Kaiser Chiefs at Leeds Arena, 'Ricky Wilson doing one of his trademark leap Picture: Steve Riding
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From opening the O2 Academy Leeds to performing to large crowds at Millennium Square, Elland Road and Kirkstall Abbey, Kaiser Chiefs have played some memorable shows in their home city over the past ten years.

On Saturday night they gained the distinction of becoming the first band to top the bill twice at Leeds’s First Direct Arena – and fans were out in force to give them a heroes’ welcome to the 13,000-capacity venue.

The five-piece, led by Ricky Wilson in a break from his stint as a mentor on the BBC One talent show The Voice, responded with an exuberant set, expanded from the one they’ve recently been playing on tour with the Foo Fighters in South America to include much of their 2014 Number One album Education, Education, Education & War.

The Factory Gates, a song of barely suppressed rage with Nick Baines’ post-punk keyboard jabs and Andrew White’s slashes of guitar, set a frenetic pace that was maintained by Everyday I Love You Less and Less and Everything Is Average Nowadays.

Many of these songs possessed a fighting spirit. In Ruffians on Parade Wilson mused: “We are never backing down even a million miles from home”; My Life was similarly combative, with its closing refrain: “You can tell we had a hell of a life...You can see we had a colourful one/From our eyes”.

The Angry Mob and Cannons took up the cudgels once more before the mood finally turned more celebratory.

A new track, Team Mate, was aired ahead of a greatest hits sequence that included Modern Way, Never Miss a Beat, their chart-topping single Ruby and signature tune I Predict a Riot.

The Who song Pinball Wizard, which the Kaisers performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, was cheerfully reprised while Coming Home brought the curtain down on a nostalgic note.

In the encore, sparky new single Falling Awake made its Leeds debut and the evening ended triumphantly with fan favourite Oh My God.

Like one of Ricky Wilson’s acrobatic leaps, Kaiser Chiefs had pulled it off again spectacularly in front of a joyful home crowd.

Gig date: February 14, 2015

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