“What do ya reckon the ‘K’ and the ‘C’ stand for, mate?” asked the innocent bystander, staring at the huge gold-embossed initials on the stage curtain and clearly unaware of the incendiary indie about to be unleashed upon a slightly subdued Academy crowd.
The promise of music and lager, a whole day’s worth, lured an eclectic crowd of Carlingites to Brixton Academy for an early evening start to a third year of successive gigs and parties over 24 hours.
With the Kaiser Chiefs scheduled for a 9.15pm start, The Pipettes and Captain supported admirably but probably felt under-appreciated as the crowd milled between bar and stage showing only a passing interest in choreographed hand dancing from three girls in spotty dresses and the more sombre, grander sound of Captain. Both provided an interesting musical juxtaposition to the Kaiser Chiefs’ explosive start which finally shook the crowd awake.
Expertly wielding a cow bell or tambourine throughout, Ricky Wilson jumped and cavorted his way over every inch of the stage reeling off crowd-friendly tracks from Employment and introducing three new tracks (Learnt My Lesson Well, High Royds and Heart Dies Down) by declaring “We are Kaiser Chiefs and we’re planning on being Kaiser Chiefs for a little while.” This is no bad thing, if the quality of this new material is anything to go by.
You Can Have It All was particularly memorable for one blushing crowd member as she was hoisted up on stage to perform a slightly stilted ballroom dance routine with Ricky Wilson, who also popped up on the mixing desk stage for part of I Predict A Riot before haring it back on stage for a livewire finale to a thoroughly enjoyable gig.
Whilst the rest of us were homeward bound and Ian Brown was warming up in Islington for the next gig, you can’t help but ponder on packing so many great bands and artists into one job lot of shows. I doubt many punters went to more than one gig unless they’d won some sort of VIP package, or were on a junket.
If more bands sign up to events like these then you could wonder how often you’d be able to see great British bands like the Kaiser Chiefs without having a brand of beer, hair gel or mobile phone network sold to us throughout the whole experience.
As for our lager loving friend, maybe he was looking for a missing ‘F’ between the ‘K’ and ‘C’, a grade the Kaiser Chiefs comfortably avoided with a boisterously entertaining set. I bet you a pint he didn’t make the next 20 hours.