Music Feature

Concert Review: Kaiser Chiefs at Union Transfer

by Alex Telischak
Riotous energy as the UK band comes to Philadelphia
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I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the Kaiser Chiefs show last Thursday at Union Transfer. The popularity of indie dance music isn’t what it was a few years ago and, the opening band was completely unknown to me. But there were quite a few hardcore fans in attendance, so apparently it’s popularity hasn’t faded completely. 

The fact that opening act Spacecamp was unknown to me isn’t shocking, since, as they admitted during their set, this was only the “second show [they’ve] played outside of New York City.”  They were good, definitely employing a sound much like the Police or similar 80s bands, as has been noted elsewhere. After they played three songs in a row, flowing song to song, I had a thought similar to someone to my left in the crowd, who vocally asked the band, “Was that one song or three?” It was hard to tell, honestly.

Kaiser Chiefs came to the stage after Spacecamp’s shortish appearance, with all the expected energy of their performances. Remember the hardcore fans I mentioned before? I haven’t seen so many fans sporting the t-shirts of the act they’re seeing since a Morrissey concert - and they sang along with gusto. Lead singer Ricky Wilson didn’t crowd surf during “I Predict a Riot”, as he often is wont to do, but he was still quite active onstage, tossing the mic in the air and dashing around the stage. In between songs, he took care of personal business, twice - and i’m sure, only half-jokingly, confirming that his laundry was being handled. And drummer Nick Hodgson confirmed he was, in fact, playing David Letterman’s drum set; the TV host had purchased them from him on the spot after the band appeared on The Late Show the evening before. As regards the price paid, Hodgson would only confirm the amount “started with a one”, and, apparently, would deliver it after the tour, since he was playing with that kit at Union Transfer.

Even though it wasn’t the largest of audiences I’ve seen at Union Transfer, the band kept the audience’s attention during their set and brought a lot of energy to their performance. Perhaps indie dance isn’t as popular as it once was, but it’s clear that it still has its loyal followers, and Kaiser Chiefs are doing well at keeping the fire burning.

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