The Futureheads, Bloc Party, and Kaiser ChiefsEdit this event
- Rock City, Nottingham »
With undoubtedly the best name of any band ever, The Kaiser Chiefs open tonight’s proceedings playing to a somewhat meagre audience. This is surely due to poor organisation rather than a lack of interest; with the doors opening less than thirty minutes before the Chiefs begin their Britpop blitzkrieg you get the distinct feeling that many have been left out in the cold.
Those inside are suitably warmed up by an energetic opening, although there are a few dissenters. “Yes, I predict one too, in two songs time,” responds singer Ricky Wilson to calls for that tune. They’ve got enough others to escape ‘one hit wonder’ taunts, though; ‘Modern Way’ and ‘Oh My God’ are equal if not better than the uber-popular ‘I Predict A Riot.’
Typically English, with nods to the likes of Madness and Blur, the Kaisers score points by not taking themselves too seriously. Bass player Simon Rix scores bonus points for his black and red pinstripe blazer.
Opening with the pounding rhythm and call-and-response lyrics of 'The Marshals Are Dead,' Bloc Party are in no mood to play second (or third, as the bill inexplicably has them) fiddle to anyone. They proceed to tear through material from their soon-to-be released debut alarm, ‘Silent Alarm,_’ with a cohesiveness that belies their status as a ‘new’ band.
Some call it punk-funk, but whatever the category is, Bloc Party are already well on their way to heading it. Perhaps more of an acquired taste than last year’s darlings Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party’s sound is anchored by a paranoid, twitchy rhythm section, perforated by angular assaults from the guitars of front-man Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack.
It’s a ‘Head-y combination, sounding at times like Thom and the boys might if they had a little more soul and a lot more amphetamine. When front-man Kele Okereke introduces latest release ‘So Here We Are’ as "a song about boredom," half of Rock City already knows the words.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but 2005 truly looks like it’s Bloc Party’s for the taking.
The volume award, though, goes to The Futureheads. Deafening and jerky, with an onslaught of tri-Mackem harmonies, they power their way through a set which seems to leave many bemused. "Where’s Brandon Flowers?" and "What the hell are tri-Mackem harmonies?" are the most pertinent questions.
The most well-received of their repertoire, unsurprisingly, is ‘Decent Days And Nights,’ which sees the band getting down with some moves that would put John Travolta to shame. Perhaps. What is certain is that they’re developing into an endearing live act; guitarist Ross in particular sporting a grin that contradicts the disconsolate feeling that permeates much of their material.
Other highlights in a set characterised by "fear and burglary" (their description, not mine) are ‘Carnival Kids’ and ‘Meantime,’ both replete with those trademark tri-Mackem harmonies, stop-start guitars and shed-loads of decibels.
Brandon Flowers and his Killers take the stage to a hero’s welcome, dressed as impeccably as you’d expect. Kicking off with ‘Mr Brightside,’ they exude an air of coolness totally at odds with the melodrama of their music. Flowers himself, master showman as he is, covers every inch of the stage, with at least one longing glance for each front row individual.
Guitarist Dave Keuning takes the phrase ‘playing to the audience’ to its logical conclusion by holding his guitar less than an arms length away from the crowd, inviting both adoration and molestation in equal measure.
It’s a typically consummate performance, justifying their headline slot to even the most sceptical indie kids in the audience. ‘Somebody Told Me’ is raucously disco, ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’ a showcase for some vocal gymnastics and ‘Indie Rock And Roll’ the cue for a good old-fashioned sing-song.
Love them or loathe them, they sure know how to put on a show. Even if Flowers’ inexplicably pink encore attire loses the battle of the blazers tonight, his band wins the war of the entertainers.
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