Friday, April 10, 2009

Kaiser Chiefs - Live In Singapore Concert Review

Who: Kaiser Chiefs
What: Off With Their Heads Tour
When: 7 April 2009, 8pm
Where: Fort Canning Park

1. Spanish Metal
2. Everyday I Love You Less And Less
3. Everything Is Average Nowadays
4. You Want History
5. Ruby
6. Good Days Bad Days
7. Na Na Na Na Naa
8. Love's Not A Competition (But I'm Winning)
9. Like It Too Much
10. Modern Way
11. Never Miss A Beat
12. I Predict A Riot
13. Take My Temperature
14. The Angry Mob

15. Can't Say What I Mean
16. Oh My God

Following the release of their third studio album Off With Their Heads last year, the Kaiser Chiefs have acquired a large enough fanbase and repertoire of radio hits to warrant a full-length concert in Singapore. They set foot here for the first time on Tuesday night and put on a rocking show at Fort Canning Park. 

The turnout was quite impressive - 5,000 people sprawled the lawns of Fort Canning that night. Not surprisingly, a large number of the audience consisted of expats. This was similarly observed at the recent Coldplay and Oasis concerts as well, and this is probably the reason why most of the concerts are still selling well despite the economic crisis.

The earlier afternoon showers ensured that no one went home with their soles unsoiled, but that did not stop people from laying out mats and sitting on the grass before the show commenced.

Local band Electrico took to the stage at 8pm and opened the show with a 45-minute set consisting of songs from their latest album We Satellites and second album Hip City. Being one of the more prominent and successful local bands in recent years, they showed off their class and experience with a tight and strong set.

However, frontman Dave Tan was under no delusions who the audience were really baying for, and he gamely joked: "I know you're all here to catch the Kaiser Chiefs, but can you help make us feel like rock stars for one moment?" The crowd obliged and gave them a warm response.

The Kaiser Chiefs finally emerged at 9:35pm to rapturous applause, and they quickly launched into the opening song of their latest album, Spanish Metal. They followed with a pair of upbeat songs, Everyday I Love You Less And Less and Everything Is Average Nowadays. What's with the long song titles?

Kaiser Chiefs' songs are insanely catchy and they translated well when performed live. Most of the songs had sing-a-long choruses or refrains like "Na Na Na Na Naa", and it was easy for the audience to join in. I ended up losing my voice a little for the rest of the night because I was singing so hard. 

The best thing was that you didn't really need to know the lyrics to the songs, since most of them had repetitive lines for the chorus anyway, e.g. on Oh My God, I Predict A Riot and Never Miss A Beat. So it was great in that sense.

Frontman Ricky Wilson was brimming with energy and he engaged in a lot of mic-swirling, tambourine-tossing and foot-stomping. When the band launched into one of their biggest hits I Predict A Riot, he got inspired and scaled the side stage scaffolding, climbing up to 10 metres above ground level and singing the chorus. The security guys must have been sweating at that point.

Unfortunately, as hard as Wilson tried, he couldn't really incite a riot among the crowd. With the exception of the hard core fans at the front of the stage, most of the audience behind were content with bobbing along and showering polite applause. Only during a few songs did they really come alive and put their hands in the air.

Musically wise, they performed most of the songs similar to the album versions. My favourite song for the night was Love's Not A Competition (But I'm Winning). Even thought they're known for their catchy and upbeat songs, the songs I like most are the slower ones like Competition and Modern Way, both of which they performed really well.

The final song for the night, Oh My God, was an extended, 10-minute joint that nicely summed up the musical journey of the Kaiser Chiefs so far - "Oh my god I can't believe it, I've never been this far away from home".

The Kaiser Chiefs may no longer be the boys they were when they first burst onto the scene in 2005, but they still retain the same enthusiasm and energy, even when they're thousands of miles away from home, in a humid and strange little island called Singapore.

Closing thoughts, I felt that it was a very fun concert, largely because the songs by themselves are so darn catchy and lend themselves easily to audience participation. I definitely enjoyed it, but it would have been even better had the crowd shared the band's enthusiasm. 


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