Important Questions Raised By...

Who the Hell Listens to The Kaiser Chiefs in 2019?

Well, quite a few people, apparently. We spoke to them about why.

by Rosie Hewitson
11 February 2019, 11:51am

All images courtesy of the author

Remember those few years in the mid-2000s when everyone wore skinny jeans so tight that as a nation we all just sort of stopped being able to breathe properly, and in our collective oxygen-deprived state of mild delirium we were briefly convinced that Sergio from Kasabian was some sort of sex god, pork pie hats were a socially acceptable fashion choice and The Pigeon Detectives were... good? Weird little cultural moment that. Dark times.

The thing is... not to be a dick about it, but I was under the impression that we’d all decided the Arctic Monkeys were the only band worth salvaging from that brief period when the UK music scene was dominated by Chelsea boot-wearing guitar bois from Bradford, and that the last time any of us willingly listened to Franz Ferdinand or Maximo Park or The Fratellis in public was at a disastrous free entry SU indie night we ended up at on the Tuesday of Fresher’s Week.

And yet apparently The Kooks we’re right to call me naive, because there are still a substantial number of people out there willing to pay good money to see this sort of stuff live. Enough people that ahead of the release of their seventh album, the Kaiser Chiefs can still sell out Brixton Academy on a Friday night at £40 a ticket. Which is news to me.

So what’s the deal with that then? Who is going to see the Kaiser Chiefs in 2019? Is it all older funsters or do kids today like this stuff too? And why? Is anyone listening to their newer music? Is it just a nostalgia thing? Or is it because people like Ricky, the Kaiser Chiefs frontman, who went on The Voice? And hold up: do people actually watch The Voice??? So many questions. To that end, I went to chat to some die-hard Kaiser fans outside their Brixton Academy show to get some answers.

Elliot, Jack, Josh, Ben and Connor

Elliot, Jack, Josh, Ben and Connor
From left to right: Elliot, Jack, Josh, Ben and Connor.

Noisey: Big fans of the Kaiser Chiefs?
Elliot:
Massive! Massive fans.
All: Yeah!

How old are you guys? Don’t worry I’m not gonna tell you off for drinking tinnies.
Jack: Like 16 and 17.
Ben: 20.

So when they first started making music some of you were like, not born?
Elliot: Yep! Yeah cos they were formed in like 2000 I think.
Josh: We were like just born or something.

Fuck! That’s properly stressed me out. Do you prefer their new stuff or the older stuff?
All:
Old stuff.
Jack: Like Employment... that album.
Connor: Yeah definitely their older stuff.

Can you remember their first album being released then?
Connor:
They were probably one of the first bands I ever listened to.
Jack: I think my older brother and my dad introduced me to them.
Elliot: So we’ve grown up listening to them, really, I think that’s why we like them.

Yeah fair enough.

Tom and Dec

Tom and Dec for Noisey
From left to right: Tom and Dec

Noisey: So the Kaiser Chiefs huh?
Tom: Yeah good band, I’ve seen them three times. Saw them with the Foo Fighters in 2015 and I guess I’ve been brought up with them, y’know.

How old are you?
Tom:
19. So I listened to them growing up.

Can you remember them in the beginning?
Dec:
Yeah definitely.
Tom: Probably from their first album Employment.

And you’re still listening to that stuff now?
Tom: Yeah course.
Dec: They’re still a big band with a big following, like no matter how old their stuff gets or how much it gets played it’s still great music and you’re still going to listen to it. Tom: Yeah when it comes on you’re like ‘this is an anthem’, you’re always gonna listen to anthems.

Mary and Barbara

Barbara and Mary
from left to right: Mary and Barbara

Noisey: Hey, so why are you seeing the Kaiser Chiefs in 2019?
Mary:
I love the Kaiser Chiefs! I don’t follow them all over the place but if it’s convenient I’ll go and see them yeah.

So you’ve seen them a bunch of times?
Mary:
I’ve seen them loaaads of times. I saw them at Glastonbury cos I’ve worked there, saw them at the Races a few times... Olympic Park…
Barbara: Hyde Park... we saw them at the Hospital Club last year.

That’s a lot!
Mary: Yeah I guess so!

What’s your favourite album? Do you like their newer stuff?
Mary:
Favourite album would have to be Education. but I think the newer albums are good too! I think their pop album is great, really easy to listen to. Do you like them?

I did for their first album, but I have to admit I haven’t really listened to them in a while. I didn’t really know they were still making music to be honest.
Mary:
I like a lot of music and I pay money to see them cos they do a great show.
Barbara: They’re always fun.

Do they still play “Ruby” and “I Predict a Riot” and stuff?
Mary
: It's a mixture really but there's always a few of the classics.

God they must be so sick of playing those!
Mary:
Imagine! It must drive you mad. But then if you’re a band with songs like that you’ll go forever won’t you. It’s funny though because... do you know a group called Mungo Jerry?

I don’t think so.
Mary:
From Southampton, well they sang this awful song “Summertime” it goes *sings* “In the summertime when the weather is hot”. And, well, he’s been earning two hundred grand a year since he wrote that, and he hasn’t done anything else. So he can’t be too sick of it can he?

Not a bad point, Mary. Makes you think.
Mary:
Yeah.

Jordan and Emma

Jordan and Emma
From left to right: Jordan and Emma

Noisey: Hi guys, why are you seeing the Kaiser Chiefs today?
Jordan:
Emma bought it for me as a Christmas present because we got really obsessed with that song, what’s it called... I can’t even remember the name of it now.
Emma: Well, I loved them anyway. I went to see them 10 years ago but haven’t seen them since. Jordan is quite new to them. But you like that one, how does it go? “What did you do today”?
Jordan: *sings* “What did you do today? I did nothing.”

“Never Miss a Beat”?
Jordan:
Yeah, that’s it!

I’m impressed with myself for remembering that. I probably haven’t listened to them since 2006.
Emma:
Yeah, it’s been a long time since I saw them, I was probably about 14.

Do you think it’s a nostalgia thing for you then?
Emma:
I think so a little bit, because I listened to them growing up so there’s a lot of memories attached to their music. At least for me anyway.

Great, well thank you for serenading me. Have fun!

Gabriel, Pete, Chris and Andy

Gabriel, Pete, Chris and Andy

Noisey: Why on earth are you here?
Chris:
Because, erm... you know what, I’ve got no idea why I’m here!

Such is life.
Gabriel:
It’s because they’ve got a range of hits, you know you’re gonna get a great show. I’ve seen them before, I suggested it and they said yes.
Andy: Also they’re great live.
Chris: I’d say nostalgia, you know? They’re a band who was at its zenith when I was in my 40s. But then, I dunno, can you be nostalgic about your 40s? I dunno if you can call that nostalgic.

I think so. They dropped off my radar a while back so they’re probably quite nostalgic for me.
Pete:
Yeah, you don’t hear them as much definitely.
Andy: But they’re still played on Absolute Radio and stuff like that.

Do you listen to their newer stuff too?
Gabriel: I’ve got some of their newer stuff on a playlist, but I would say the older stuff is better for me. So anyway, are you trying to find some fossils to laugh at it your cool magazine?

Not at all! Genuinely just wanna understand the fandom!
Gabriel:
Hmmmm.

But I’ll leave you to it. Enjoy.

Naomi, Tom and Aikth

Naomi, Tom and Aikth
From left to right: Naomi, Tom and Aikth

Noisey: So, why the Kaiser Chiefs in 2019?
Aikth:
We’re actually from Amnesty International and they’re ambassadors for us so we’re really excited that they’re performing here and we’ve come to support them before their next album comes out.

Are you fans as well? Did you listen to them?
Aikth:
Back in the day? Yeah.

So would you see them if it wasn’t for work?
Tom: For us it’s a personal connection because we know them and they support our work, so it’s really nice to come and see them do their work.

Have you seen them before?
Aikth:
Yeah.
Naomi: Yes a couple of years ago.
Tom: Do you like them?

I did, but I haven’t listened to them in a long while.
Aikth:
Maybe you should.

Maybe I will.

Izzy, Sophia and Laura

Izzy, Sophia and Laura
From left to right: Izzy, Sophia and Laura

Noisey: You lot don’t seem like you’d be bang into the Kaiser Chiefs.
Sophia:
Basically we’re just here because why not. It's one of those random occasions.
Laura: What else is there to do on a Friday night?

Probably a few things, but sure why not the Kaiser Chiefs?
Izzy: I’m not a mega-fan, I’ve come to see their act because I’ve heard good things about their shows, especially their performance in Bath so yeah.
Sophia: And I wanna see Ricky, I saw him on The Voice!

Ah yeah, of course. The Voice. So what are your fave songs?
Izzy:
We were literally just talking about this and saying like what songs can we actually name and I think I can only name three.
Laura: Two, I think I can do two.
Sophia: Which ones?
Izzy: Ummm... “Every Day I Love You Less And Less” and “Ruby”?
Sophia: Ah I didn’t know that was their song, I thought that was Arctic Monkeys.

So their earlier stuff then?
Laura:
I guess yeah. I don’t know what album, how many do they have now?

They’re about to release their seventh apparently.
Laura:
So are you not actually a fan?

Not exactly no.
Laura:
So why are you doing this?

Good question... to try and work out who is still into the Kaiser Chiefs in 2019 A.D. I guess.
Sophia:
Is everyone else you’ve spoken a massive fan?

They seem to be yeah, a lot of people have seen them multiple times I think.
Sophia:
I walked past here about four o’clock and there was a huge group of people already queuing.

Gren and Simon

Gren and Simon
From left to right: Gren and Simon

Noisey: Why are you seeing the Kaiser Chiefs?
Gren:
Well we’ve been listening to them for, what, ten years?
Simon: Yeah, I really like the first couple of albums. We saw them at Earl’s Court off the back of their second album and we haven’t seen them for a few years now so thought we’d come down. It was a bit last minute getting tickets for this, I only booked it a couple of weeks ago.

So it’s their older stuff you like more?
Gren:
Well, frankly they don’t need to produce any new material because the old material is so bloody good, and Ricky... he’s the ultimate frontman. I’m in a band and when we perform he’s sort of what we’re aiming for, he’s what a frontman should be. We saw them at Glastonbury probably four years ago and his ability to hold a crowd is just phenomenal.

Are there any other bands from the same era that you think match them?
Simon:
Yeah, Franz Ferdinand. We were into them at the time and then we came and saw them when they were here last year. We saw them at Alexandra Palace but I love this venue because it’s a bit smaller and a bit more intimate, sticky floors, nice slope so you can see wherever you’re standing.

We love a sticky floor.
Gren:
Yeah it’s one of the best venues in London I think.

Becca, Gabrielle and Alonso

Becca, Gabrielle and Alonso
From left to right: Becca, Gabrielle and Alonso

Noisey: What are you doing here?
Becca:
We’re on the guest list.

How come?
Alonso:
Errr... you don’t wanna know.

Omg. Are you actually fans or…
Becca:
I’m not not a fan.

Diplomatic. Have you listened to any of their more recent stuff?
Gabrielle:
I listened to it today, in preparation. I sort of only discovered that they had any newer stuff today.

Same to be honest!

Louis, Chris, Jess, Teagan and Joe

Louis, Chris, Jess, Teagan and Joe
From left to right: Louis, Chris, Jess, Teagan and Joe

Noisey: How old are you lot?
Teagan:
17 and 18.

So you were only three or four when the Kaiser Chiefs’ first album came out?
Joe:
Yeah we were born in like 2001.

So why the hell are you seeing the Kaiser Chiefs?
Chris:
They’re fucking sick!
Louis: They’ve got absolute bangers.
Jess: They’ve got old bangers and they’ve got new bangers.

I didn’t realise they had new bangers.
Joe:
Yeah they’ve not like, dated with the times. They’re still good now.

Is this your first time seeing them?
Joe:
Yeah it is, and I think we’re gonna be some of the youngest ones there as well.
Chris: Yeah from what I’ve seen it’s a lot of middle aged people isn’t it.
Louis: I think we’re gonna reduce the average age by quite a lot.
Joe: But we’re fine with that, we’ll be right at the front going for it and they can all just hang out at the back.

Which songs do you wanna hear?
Jess: “
Ruby” and “Every Day I Love You Less And Less”.
Chris: “Na Na Na Na Naa”.
Joe: Obviously “I Predict A Riot”.

How did you first hear them?
Chris:
I think you just sort of recognise the songs and they’re just so recognisable.
Joe: Yeah I don’t really know when I first heard them, they’re just all bangers.

Yeah actually, I guess they are.

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Tagged:
Music
Noisey
Kaiser Chiefs
Vox Pops
Ruby
Ricky Wilson