Kaiser Chiefs, Dalby Forest

Whilst Glastonbury partied on down south we had our own wet and muddy concert up north in Dalby Forest on Sunday 26th June with none other than Leeds indie rock band Kaiser Chiefs.

By Graeme Smith

Far removed from the muddy fields of Glastonbury, Kaiser Chiefs in Dalby Forest on Sunday was a sensible affair full of families and picnics in a lovely forest. Except for the stage, it didn’t even feel like a rock concert on arrival, with most of the audience settled near the back with blankets and folding chairs.

The show was one in a series hosted by the Forestry Commission with the aim of not only bringing big acts to outdoor spaces, but also to raise funds to put back in the sustainable woodlands they maintain.

Opening the evening were Vitamin who proudly announced they were from Leeds, Yorkshire, eliciting a cheer from the crowd. They then launched into a short set of clean-cut melodic pop-rock akin to The 1975 or our very own King No One. Their charismatic front man prowled the stage and wasn’t afraid to engage the crowd even though most had come to see the headliners. In the process, they probably earned a few fans themselves. Their biggest tracks were, predictably, their singles, the anthemic Brothers and Sisters and 80’s pop throwback This is Love being the set highlights. It has to be said, Vitamin have all the ingredients to be big.

Up next were Spring King, who promised ‘rock tunes and heavy stuff’. They quickly lived up the promise with a set of The Jam-style punk. Like the Kaiser Chiefs, they also had a penchant for mid-song build ups and crescendos which might have been why they were picked out as support. Thrashing their way through the grungy Detriot and Demons, they kicked things up a notch half way through their set by engaging the reverb and the result was a forest-filling wall of noise. The joyous Summer was played in spite of the rain before they closed on two belters Who Are You and Rectify.

Entering the stage to Edwin Starr’s War, Kaiser Chiefs opened the set with We Stay Together, a melodic track that also, through no coincidence, opens the 6th album, to be released later this year. They followed it by going way back to one of their earliest hits Every Day I Love You Less and Less which got the soggy audience bouncing.

There’s no denying the personality of Rick Wilson is a large part of Kaiser Chiefs success. Showing high energy throughout, whether it was busting a move, flinging his mic stand around, bantering with the crowd or climbing the scaffolding, it was difficult to take your eyes off him.

Kaiser Chiefs’ set consisted of hits from the back catalogue including Everything is Average Nowadays, Little Shocks, Never Miss A Beat and Cannons, but it was when they unleashed arguably their biggest gun in their arsenal, Ruby, that the crowd really went wild. Towards the end of the set, they also brought out their break through hit I Predict A Riot which the crowd seemed to enjoy dancing to more than Ricky seemed to enjoy performing it. A crescendo in the song brought about a deluge of confetti cannons, which seemed a little inconsiderate for a forest conservation show, but the crowd were nonetheless impressed.

Kaiser Chiefs have come a long way since their days playing the Leeds pub scene. They broke through as one of the nu-romantic inspired indie rock front runners of the early ’00s, and front man Ricky is now a household name thanks to his place as a judge on the BBC’s The Voice. The turnout to the middle of nowhere on a rainy Sunday evening was a testament to what a rare treat for their fans this was.