Fun, yes...but a riot?
I seriously overrated The Kaiser Chiefs' Employment when I reviewed it for CMG a few months ago. It's not a bad record; its actually quite enjoyable in small doses. But it suffers from a serious lack of dynamics in that the band only seems to know how to play in the red, even at slower tempos. They've only got one song, and it's an extremely energetic one.
That being said, "I Predict a Riot" is still as great a single as I thought it was back in January, so when a buddy said he had an extra ticket to see the Kaiser Chiefs at Webster Hall this evening, I took him up on the offer.
To call Webster Hall a wee bit disgusting in the summer is a bit of an understatement. The place is a fucking sweatbox with ventilation approaching the 4 train at rush hour when the train is stopped and the AC's been turned off because someone's fallen onto the tracks. Add bright white lights to the equation, and it's worse than being in Midtown at lunchtime. Thank god I don't have to go there again until the New Pornographers come around in October.
As for the Kaiser Chiefs themselves, their live show is not unlike their record; energetic, crowdpleasing, and more than a little bit cheesy. Frontman Ricky Wilson looks like Philip Seymour Hoffman circa-Scent of a Woman, and is really the only member of the band who does anything other than simply stand in place. But he attempts to compensate for the other dudes by much jumping up and down, frequent microphone tossing, and shouting "We are the Kaiser Chiefs!" in between most of the songs. A corny, albeit amusing moment ensued during "You Can Have It All" when Wilson pulled a giddy woman by the name of Jane out of the crowd for a slow dance. As for the songs, the band pulled out virtually everything off of Employment, one song I didn't recognize, and closed with the raucous (even by their standards) B-side "Take My Temperature." But basically, there ain't a heck of a lot to say about a Kaiser Chiefs show. You can sing along to most of their songs, they know how to work a crowd, and at 55 minutes, they didn't linger so long as to become offensive. Too bad the same can't be said about the venue in which they performed.