Seattle’s Showbox at the Market has played host to some great British bands over the past couple of years. Many have risen to the occasion (Editors, Bloc Party), providing Northwestern music fans with some of the best shows the area has seen this side of 2010. Others have been less than dynamic. (Arctic Monkeys, we’re looking at you).
Fortunately for the packed house in the Showbox on Friday March 23rd, the Kaiser Chiefs have brought their A-game to the Emerald City. Even the support band, Walk The Moon, are above average for a second-tier act, opening with some impressive Vampire Weekend-esque percussion before degenerating into Foreigner-lite soft rock for the second half of the set. Their musicianship is never in doubt, though, and they certainly have more than a few fans among the Friday night party crowd. They’re definitely a name to watch, if only for an explanation of the face paint daubed on their cheeks.
Those who have followed the Kaiser Chiefs since they marched onto the UK indie scene in 2005 will tell you there’s no harder-working band out there, and Ricky Wilson and the boys pull out all the stops for their return to Seattle. Opening with a high-octane performance of ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’, their set rests heavily upon the hits from 2005’s debut Employment, flirting briefly with the rest of their catalog – and a few tracks from latest release Start The Revolution Without Me – along the way. The fans are more than happy that their favorites are being played, and while the new material is strong there’s no denying the timeless quality of ‘I Predict A Riot’ and ‘Modern Way’. If you’ve only discovered them in the last 12 months you might wonder what’s happening – but everyone else is in Kaiser heaven.
Wilson shows his frontman chops too, launching into every song as if it’s their last and engaging the crowd each step of the way. At one point he even ventures out to the bar area, strutting along the bar itself as the staff serve him a couple of shots between choruses. If they have any effect on his ability to perform it doesn’t show, as the band finish up with an encore of ‘Oh My God’ that brings the house down in suitably rabble-rousing style.
Unfortunately the new material – including latest single ‘On The Run’ – lacks some of the edge that made them such a dynamic force when they first appeared on the scene, but with Wilson at the helm the Kaiser Chiefs are still a force to be reckoned with. With anthems this bold someone should give them an arena to fill. We won’t be calling off the revolution quite yet.