Indie-rock icons The Kaiser Chiefs are giants of the industry. With multiple hits, and an impressive discography, the Leeds-born 5-piece created the soundtrack of the 2000s and brought up generations with their electrified stompers in ways that most bands only dream of. You may expect then, that the group’s set at the Brixton Academy would have a start as overwhelming as the band’s notoriety. But, as the livestream begins, it becomes clear that the introduction to the group’s performance is far more intimate. Instead of a wall of sound, we first see the group on a Zoom call, with us, the audience, slap-bang in the middle. As they bicker and reminisce with each other, a sense of catching up with old friends emerges, like the online audience are just as much a part of the group as the members are. It’s strangely intimate, but an introduction that benefits the group’s actual opener. As the music kicks in, and the fizz-filled notes of ‘People Know How To Love One Another’ begin, a feeling of friendship between the band and audience hangs in the air. It’s a euphoric opening and sets the tone for the rest of the much-awaited night, perfectly.
The group begin with their set with more recent tunes that abandon the grungy rock attitude they're typically known for. Instead, the current tunes have a sugary indie-pop flavour that the group seem to relish in. The group stays as exhilarated as they appeared in their opener, with the members chanting the vocal hooks of ‘‘Golden Oldies’ the track with sheer delight, and guitarist Andrew White playing a vicious guitar solo during ‘Na Na Na Na Naa’, that takes the track to new heights of excitement. Lead singer Ricky Wilson plays up to the camera like he would a typical crowd, dancing, shouting and holding the mic to the screen for the audience to join in at home; in fact, the interactions with the invisible audience bring new realm of normality to the set and provided an enthusiasm so infectious it seems to permeate through the screen. Though the next few tracks admittedly fall slightly flat, considering the stellar beginning, the group soon snatch back the attention through a bizarre method; by using a Hook A Duck, containing song requests from the audience. It’s a truly unique way to keep the momentum of the night going, and as the group delves into the winning track ‘Canons’, there seems to be regained electricity in the air that ignites the band back into action.
As the second half of the night begins, the group return to their roots, cementing themselves in their beloved indie-rock sound, and playing their 2000s anthems. Starting the second half of the night with the iconic ‘Every day I Love You Less and Less’, the band seems to take on a new demeanour to match the ever-brooding atmosphere of their earlier work. Bassist Simon Rix’s and drummer Vijay Mistry’s occasional looks to the camera are full of mischief, as they execute the hard-hitting beats and melodies effortlessly. Ricky Wilson seems to switch his performing style as well, singing the playfully malicious lyrics while skulking around the stage and giving a sly grin with each camera angle. The newfound poise is a refreshing switch-up and fits the more brooding atmosphere of the group’s punchy tracks seamlessly. The band proceed to spoil the audience with hits of theirs, playing classic tracks such as ‘Ruby’ and ‘Never Miss A Beat’. These tracks evoke a profound sentimentality, and as they play the fiery melodies and hooks of the two stompers, all the focus is on the enjoyment of the audience, constantly interacting with the camera and dancing about the stage as they perform, giving a blissfully elated send-off to the second half of the night.
However, the night doesn’t stop there - just as the audience thinks the group have ended their set, they soon emerge back on stage for a final encore. The last three tracks are equally elevating, however, it is the last tune of the night ‘Oh My God’ that leaves the night with a final feeling of hope. The poignancy of the lyrics "I’ve never been this far away from home!" is a subtle reminder of our inability to see live performances, but with the group’s optimistic performance, it seems to transform into a promise – a promise that live music will return soon? Maybe. A promise that in all their rousing glory, The Kaiser Chiefs will be waiting for us when it eventually does? Certainly.