Kaiser Chiefs – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre
By @Roger Crow, August 2021
It’s one of those strangely perfect Sunday afternoons when everything slots into place. At the car park a mile from Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre a guy hands me a ticket valid until the next day as he’s just leaving. The weather, which has been threatening rain after a torrential downpour that morning is thankfully dry, and the support act, Apollo Junction are rather good.
Their new album is called All In. I know this because the frontman plugs it like there’s no tomorrow, and fair play to him. Just playing any gig is quite a feat these days, let alone one of the biggest of the year.
It’s six years since I last saw Kaiser Chiefs play. That gig at Warwick Castle was another of those perfect nights, but I had feared age might have wearied them in the years since.
When Ricky Wilson, Simon Rix and the lads emerge on stage, the sky is still threatening, but as the familiar chords of Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’ fill the night air, for the next hour-plus, the assembled masses forget about the weather.
Every familiar Kaiser Chiefs classic is a reminder of how great live music can be. It had been at least two years since I’d been to the OAT, and I’d forgotten what a great venue it is. Again, it’s that perfect mix of a great band at the top of their game in a terrific venue. And unlike some acts who bore you with too much talking inbetween songs, Ricky works the crowd like the seasoned professional he is, whether it’s the call and response we know and love, or the looks to cameras on either side of the stage. At one point those looks are preamble to a few of their greatest hits, without any of the cheesy dialogue that precedes it.
Those hits come thick and fast. From ‘Never Miss a Beat’, and ‘Everything is Average Nowadays’, and all those other classics, including ‘Every Day I Love You Less and Less’.
It’s a pretty modest set; just a diner-style exterior with the word ‘Duck’ on the wall. And yes, it is a pretty good copy of their 2019 album cover.
The roof of said structure is thankfully solid enough for Ricky to perform on. And mixed with some epic lighting and a smoke machine, as the skies grow darker, the effect is more cinematic than ever.
As much as I’ve loved being a few feet from the stage in the past, tonight is one of those gigs where I’m happy to sit down and soak up the spectacle from afar. Not that Ricky forgets us cheering masses.
“I’m looking at you in the stands. Hands in the air,” he yells at one point, and it would be rude not to oblige. By the time they belt out ‘Ruby’, resistance is futile. Anyone who wasn’t already on their feet is dancing, waving, chanting to one of their greatest hits, and a very personal favourite. Hard to believe this is one of those last-minute songs they knocked up as it’s such a classic.
Remarkably they don’t perform ‘I Predict a Riot’ last, but when they do the crowd goes wild, as you might imagine.
Following a stunning version of ‘Pinball Wizard’, they eventually bow out with ‘Oh My God’. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day.
Kaiser Chiefs: every day I love you more and more, and judging by the Scarborough set, a few thousand people would agree with me.
images: Cuffe and Taylor