Hole In My Soul – Kaiser Chiefs

With their new found status as a respected(ish) journeyman-indie-album-band of serious(ish) musicians the Kaiser Chiefs found themselves the other side of the glass at last. Safe from the risk of the sky claw lifting them out of the venues they’re playing in and dropping them over the wall. Education, Education, Education And War had cracked the market in some ways, their sheer doggedness had been the main thing. The omnipresence of The House Of Kaiser was a token that made them the indie band equivalent of a beloved breakfast radio host or long running chat show. Folks would check in just to see what they’re up to now. Full English breakfast, mug of tea, Kaisers on the radio and a rolled up newspaper on the dash of the transit van. Never mind the prog rock trappings and the war poems. Ohhhhh!

“Strike up the band Give yourselves a great big hand And all together now All together now, strike up the band”

So the obvious next move would be an ambitious concept album about the division of labour in the industrial age or a series of three minute terrace chant pop rock songs about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Red Telephone Boxes and Leeds United’s new away kit. Kaisers had the same sort of stock as Blur now, or Pulp, Happy Mondays and Elbow. Still they looked in on Coldplay’s global ubiquity and Foo Fighters universal hall pass but they could coin it in forever more if they played by the rules.

“Bring down the house Once more with feeling now I’ll try to make it count It’s all for you so take a bow”

What a time to get distracted by 80’s synth pop. That’s what happened. Kaiser Chiefs sixth album Stay Together sounded like it was from 30 years previously and had moved 30 odd miles down the M1 from Leeds to Sheffield. The record opens with a keytar-tasitc almost title track We Stay Together before plunging into a double whammy of Hole In My Soul (definitely not a cover of the Aerosmith song) and Parachute. Both shiny pop nuggets we’d all be blessed to have doing the rounds on the radio during our commute in the stead of the utter garbage we were getting fed in 2016.

The first time I heard either tune was at a music festival where KC had been booked as one of those +Plus Very Special Guest+ type slots just below the headliners on the Saturday. I was working with a gang of mates and we’d all thrown in our lot for who we wanted to see when so the crew could allow for so and so to go and see such and such. Nobody had been interested in the VSG slot. I took a punt. To say I was delighted with the result was an understatement.

The Kaisers were greeted like old friends. Ricky had his foot in a massive leg brace that made it look like he was beginning to turn into Megatron from the ankle up but it did not slow him down when jumping on the drum riser, leading the crowd in arm waving for a moment that was inspired by a kid on his dads shoulders or bounding off the stage to hold the mike out for the front rows. Come to think of it, I’m not sure there was anything wrong with his leg at all, maybe he actually was slowly being turned into an android… I was watching from the crowd with members of Black Grape (we didn’t go together, it was pure coincidence) and I had a succession of kids on my shoulders so they could wave at the band or get good stuff for the gram.

They played an all hits set except for the two newies. They also had the good grace to apologise when doing so to a festival crowd who hadn’t paid to see them. The good natured crowd were so pleased to be in a break from the rest of the festivals torrential rain they took to singing Parachute’s chorus as “We’ve only got one Pair of shoes” as they sludged around in the mud. Hole In My Soul (or Sole if we’re sticking with the soggy footwear puns) fitted right in with Everything Is Average Nowadays and Modern Way.

“And everybody gave up Until we start from the top again Take it all from the top, the top, the top, the top”

Stay Together was a reckless move for a band who could have headed straight into the embrace of the indie rock fraternity if they’d have only kept making rock music. But mainstream pop beats pure in the hearts of this band. They always wanted to be Duran Duran or Simple Minds or Girls Aloud. So on with the synths, the keytars and the processed beats. This band love to play… In more ways than one.

Since writing this post I heard that my Buddy Giovanni who was at that festival with me has passed away. Big Man. I’m sorry I didn’t know you were in such pain. The picture on this post is of our Festival Gang the night of the show I’m writing about. You were a Gentleman Giovanni. Rest in power my friend.

7 thoughts on “Hole In My Soul – Kaiser Chiefs

  1. Not as hepped about these 2 as the earlier music you featured. I remember what you look like in the top photo. Which person is Giovanni? Looks like quite a motley crew! Sounds like you all had a good time.

    Liked by 1 person

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