While the conveyor belt that ferries Next Big Things from the U.K. to these shores has been working overtime of late, its offerings have, by and large, been presented in stark black and white. Leeds’ Kaiser Chiefs, on the other hand, come bearing DayGlo accoutrements for all the senses, from garish stage gear to uber-perky keyboard riffs.
The quintet doesn’t do anything terribly out of the ordinary in terms of style, hitting on all the right new wave and Brit-pop touchstones (think one part Madness, one part Blur and two parts XTC). Personality, and loads of it, however, made this sweaty perf more like a trip to an old-fashioned British music hall than a mere jaunt to the local Xerox shop.
Front man Ricky Wilson has clearly worked on his ringmaster skills, given his bent toward perpetual motion — both of the mouth and the feet. His banter, while literate enough to give pause, never took on an inside-baseball tenor; his pinball-like bounce went even further toward freeing the mind by getting to the nether regions first.
Band’s songs exuded a decidedly Anglo tenor, what with the football-chant chorus of the piston-precise “Oh My God” and the frantic ska pulse of the cautionary closing-time tale “I Predict a Riot.” Concentrating strictly on material from their soon-to-be-released Universal album “Employment,” the Chiefs steered clear of their more temperate material — a wise choice given the leadenness of the sole ballad they offered.
Brevity kept the set’s steady stream of sweetness from growing too wearying, but the band would be wise to add some spice to the sugar before embarking on a headlining tour. Still, as a guilty-pleasure snack, their concoctions go down rather nicely.