Middle Class Revolt

A lot of wags have commented in the aftermath of the rioting and looting that gripped parts of the country last month that “well, the Kaiser Chiefs told us this was going to happen”. Not that there was much sign of social upheaval at the first of the band’s two sell-out homecoming concerts at Kirkstall Abbey at the weekend, but you needed something to think about while stuck in an hour long queue for the beer tent.

Starting to queue


Just getting served now!

Apart from a torrential deluge during Pete and the Pirates’ rather nondescript second support slot, this was a long way from being a festival appearance. The amateurish attempt to provide beer for 10,000 people meant that I didn’t get anywhere near the stage for Gruff Rhys’ set, but luckily the sound quality was excellent so I didn’t miss out too much. I’m way too old to even consider fighting my way towards the front anyhow. I haven’t got round to buying his Hotel Shampoo album yet so I’d only have been shouting for him to play some Neon Neon (on my own) if I had done.

Although the Kaiser Chiefs played well to an audience mainly receptive to their older, more singalong stuff, it was interesting to listen again to see whether they really are the Nostradamus band. The answer is, no, they are not. At least not intentionally. The riot they predict is not a political one or one that they are supporting, but just the normal drink-fuelled violence of a weekend evening out in town. The Angry Mob aren’t the dispossessed but the crowd of “people like us” in the audience.

This is an angry mob that merely tuts a bit at having to queue for an hour for a flat pint of Fosters at £4 and then obediently files out through a single narrow exit at the end of the evening. One that has mainly got the babysitters in and for whom the lives of the ordinary Leeds youngsters drinking WKD and fighting over cabs and kebabs outside Majestyks is as exotic and far-off as looting in Tooting. Not to mention that Majestyks has been closed for years.

Riot? No, we’ll just guard these hard-won beers, thanks.

The nearest to discord and a clash of the classes came with Chris Moyles’ brief moments on stage to announce that the band would shortly be coming on. It must be good being Chris Moyles – you just have to go home to Leeds for the weekend and you get invited on stage in front of 10,000 people. Apart from the having to be Chris Moyles for the rest of the week part. He managed to be more offensive and less funny than usual, which suggests that “Comedy Dave” and the rest of his posse actually do do something to merit their places coming in the ears of Radio 1 listeners on weekday mornings.

So, to the Kaiser Chiefs set. Leaving aside the incongruity of singing that they’d never been so far away from home they played the hits powerfully to an appreciative audience. Watching their set at Glastonbury (on TV), it seemed a bit flat and lacking in variety of tone – perhaps in a more partisan setting they were happier to play a more natural show, with less of an eye to trying to showcase their latest album. That’s what outdoor gigs should be like – unashamed crowd pleasing. They also used the striking surroundings of the Abbey well, albeit that I suspect someone from the Abbey would have been displeased at Ricky Wilson actually climbing onto the ruins.

Blinding set for the converted

Good view now but the sound was better further back

Thanks to Lee for sorting me out with a ticket and to Tony and Kate for the experiment later on to discover whether there was any difference between a Chicken Kebab and a Mexican Chicken Wrap at Challenge Sandwiches (answer no, the latter is the former rebranded to appeal to the sorts of ladies who don’t eat kebabs at the end of a night out).

No, they're being looked after at home, honest


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