Kaiser Chiefs, Papa vs Pretty, Stonefield @ The Enmore Theatre, Sydney (06/08/11)
In the country for Splendour in the Grass, Kaiser Chiefs embarked on a string of east coast side shows. With a new album hot off the press and a back catalogue of fan favourites to play they ended their visit down under in Sydney’s Enmore Theatre with two local rising stars.
A young and unassuming looking Stonefield drop the jaws of the night’s early arrivals when as they begin to pummel out their seventies stoner riffs. Despite their age the girls own the stage, with singer/drummer Amy Findlay leading the way and holding the crowd’s attention with her big drum sound and even bigger voice. The groups catalogue certainly isn’t foreign to those in attendance, with Foreign Lover’s fuzzy grooves eliciting cheers from the growing room.
Each of the Findlay sisters get their time to shine as they stomp along on their new single Black Water Rising and the sound is crisp and clear as they layer up their individual parts to create a wall of sound. A cover of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love doesn’t stray too far from the original, including a noisy rendition of the famous orgasm bridge, but pulling it off note for note is certainly a testament to the girl’s talent. They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here and they certainly seem to have as much fun rocking out as the audience does.
Papa vs. Pretty are energetic right of the bat, opening with a blast of post-punk dirge. While vocalist Tom Rawle is slightly lost in the mix at first, his thrashing guitar is more than enough to grab the attention of the audience. One Of The Animals makes an early appearance and reveals the pockets of PVP fans in the crowd, their energy is infectious as others around start to move to the music.
The trio keep up the action on stage, not worrying about falling straps or other tech issues, their main concern seems to be making as much noise as possible. Rawle’s huge voice wails through an evened up mix and his singing efforts boosted by backing vocals from drummer, Tom Myers. Their set has a nice dynamic, ranging from dramatic power ballads to grungy rockers with wild shredding guitar solos. By their sets end drum risers have been leapt off, guitars have been dropped and there are certainly plenty of people who have been converted into Papa vs. Pretty fans.
A full Enmore theatre is baited and teased with an extended tape loop before Kaiser Chiefs bounce on to the stage playing along in a washed out jam, although it’s not long until Everyday I Love You Less and Less is met by a roaring sea of punters, whose singing almost drowns out front man Ricky Wilson. Wilson has a tight grip on the Sydney crowd and keeps them on their toes as the set charges on with the 2008 single Never Miss A Beat.
New songs, Little Shocks and Kind of Girl You Are, show their later material can hold its own among their popular singles, but Man on Mars certainly feels like an appropriate time to go to the bar. Not translating well from the record, it’s the first time in the night the band let up on the energy and it seems to stick out awkwardly in a mostly tight and concise set. The Chiefs get Sydney back into their hands with an explosive rendition of Ruby, sounding more like a football chant than in indie rock song.
The band all performed their rolls well; Andrew White’s guitar solos rang clear and drummer Nick Hodgson and bass player Simon Rix never run out of steam holding the rhythm section together, however it’s hard to take your eyes of Ricky. With the aid of a bag of percussive treats, from cowbells to tambourines, he kept a usually too cool Sydney crowd, clapping, singing and dancing, constantly winding them up with jibes about football and leaping into the crowd to incite frenzy.
Despite the strength of the tracks played from their last record The Future is Medieval it was the bands classic Employment hits that received the biggest reactions. I Predict a Riot was performed with vigour, with Wilson breaking a side of stage bar sign and pouring a pilfered drink over the crowd, and Oh My God made for an epic finish, its swaggering stomp leading everyone in one final sing-a-long.
Kaiser Chiefs showed Sydney why they have an excellent live reputation, giving a tireless performance, heavy on hits and light on misses. The Leeds lad’s only goal was to make sure everyone was having as good a time as they were on stage, and with the mass of smiling, sweaty people at the nights end, it was certainly mission accomplished.