Kaiser Chiefs’ The Easy Eighth Tour, Blackpool

Kaiser Chiefs took to Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom as part of their latest tour. Support for the fantastic night came from Youth Sector.

One of the amazing things about working with AltCorner is that I get to cover the bands that I’ve grown up listening to. Last night, I was lucky enough to be accepted to cover Kaiser Chiefs’ sold out The Easy Eighth Tour.  

Kaiser Chiefs were in Blackpool of all places! Allowing me to enjoy the sand, sea and the beauty of the Empress Ballroom, located in the Winter Gardens. Built in 1896, but only opening as a venue in the 1960s, the room has seen a range of events from political conferences to WWE matches. Its most famous concerts included Rolling Stones in 1964, which caused a riot and lead the band to be banned until 2008, and the first ever headline show of Queen in 1974.  

Although, despite predictions, no riots broke out. A very good night was had by all, to my surprise. I won’t lie, a sunny day by the sea made me expect a drunk and pushy, argumentative crowd – but all was calm! They sang, danced and interacted when asked.  

Youth Sector were the only openers, taking the stage at 7.45pm via an incredibly funky tune, that I don’t really know the name of. They came out in a uniform of pink, green and yellow shirts and cargos. They looked like a group of losers, which we all know make a great band. I thoroughly enjoyed them! A little bit pop punk, but a little bit disco. They sounded so much like Bowie’s disco phase that I picked up on a bassline that was almost identical to one in Magic Dance. I don’t think that was intentional, though, I think the realisation comes from me listening to the Labyrinth soundtrack one too many times. They performed brand-new song Here Comes the Fear, and then other hits such as No Fanfare, Self Exile and The Ball.  

Incredible musicians, and great performers. They split the crowd into three for an interactive sing-along to Won’t Stop the Wheels (I was in the “round and round” section”). My eyes were drawn to the member on keys, who had remarkable dance-moves that involved very loose hips. He was having a very good time, and it was evident that every single member loved what they were doing.  

 Come 9 o’clock, the lights cut out and It’s Raining Men started to play. One by one, the members of Kaiser Chiefs took their place on stage and began Feeling Alright, followed by Never Miss a Beat. Already it’s clear that the night was full of tracks new old. They did the likes Beautiful Girl (which is in Ricky Wilson’s top 5 Kaiser Chiefs songs) and The Job Centre Shuffle. Of course, they did the songs they’re known for – Every Day I Love You Less and Less, Ruby, I Predict a Riot and Oh My God.  

The band was flawless, perfecting their craft and enjoying the show. Ricky Wilson was in full frontman mode, climbing through up the barriers and through the balcony during Target Market. He continued to lift the microphone, work the crowd with clapping and chants, throwing his tambourine to a fan. He channelled his inner Freddie Mercury, and made it a great show.  

I will, however, make note that Ricky seemed to struggle to sing the newer songs. I’m not sure if it was from less practice, especially as the older songs were perfectly executed, or an illness, as he seemed to keep asking for water. Regardless, the show was still incredible, I just have to cover the good and the bad.  

I would also give a flash-warning to those who need one. On the topic of accessibility, I did see a range of disabilities being completely catered to by the staff in the Empress Ballroom. Of course, I can’t give a first-hand experience, but it seems like a place where all are welcome and allowed to have the best possible experience.  

It is an experience that I’d love to have again, from the beauty of the ballroom to the atmosphere of the concert. I dare say that Kaiser Chiefs are part of British culture. Their music is the soundtrack for growing up in working class England, especially the likes of The Factory Gates and Angry Mob. I’m pleased to have had this opportunity, and I hope they come back soon.  

Vicki Evans

April 23, 2024

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