I’m very pleased to announce an article by Kaiser Chief mum Theresa – ex work colleague of pals and ex patient of mine. What would it feel like to have your child playing to thousands of happy fans……?
KAISER CHIEFS AT KIRKSTALL ABBEY………………by Peanut’s Mum!
A few weeks ago, on a sunny weekend in September, I went to see local lads, Kaiser Chiefs, play two sell-out gigs at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds. No doubt, you too may have been there or, perhaps know someone else, who went along. I would hope that the consensus of opinion was that you/they witnessed an absolutely cracking show!! I have no problem in agreeing with you there, but then, I’m quite biased as my son, Nick (Peanut – the one with the hat), is the keyboardist with the band!
All parents are proud of their children and none more so than Nick’s Dad and me. We have watched the band grow from five grungy lads, playing at in the local up-and-coming band venue, Joseph’s Well (whilst we stuck to the floor!) into one of the country’s top bands. Like their music or not, they are renowned for their pulsating live shows and are consistently rated as one of the top live bands around.
It is always difficult to try and explain to people what it feels like, as a mum, to witness one of their shows. Generally, it’s assumed that because Nick’s our son, then obviously, we’re bound to big them up… and you would be absolutely right! However, on the other hand, I am not so blinkered that I would be the first to admit if they’d given a bad performance or if I didn’t like a particular song!! Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence, mainly because they work extremely hard, rehearsing and constantly striving to pull something new out of the bag – they are perfectionists and every note and sound you hear has been honed and tweaked hundreds of times in order to create such brilliant songs and, ultimately, brilliant shows.
And what a show it was that weekend!! We have seen them perform live so many times and stand-out performances, to date, have to be Glastonbury 2005, 2007 and 2011, Elland Road and the Albert Hall to name a few… but this one at the Abbey was something else!
We were first down on Friday night for sound-check; this was mainly so that our three-year old grandson, Finlay, could experience his first Kaiser Chiefs gig! Nick had bought him some very trendy and efficient ear defenders, which he absolutely loved… he practiced at home singing ‘Ruby’! After the sound-check and much exploring of the ruins (Finlay, that is, not the lads), Nick took him on the massive stage and sat him down at the drumkit. This was Finlay’s highlight of the weekend – he absolutely loved it and drumming appeared to come naturally to him; he was less impressed with the keyboards but quite liked the tambourine! All caught on video by his very proud grandma!!
Despite the many calls on his time that come with a sound-check, plus generally preparing for a big show, Nick, consistently, makes time for his family and friends. He is unfailingly patient with the fans and will often put himself out just to accommodate an autograph or photo. He was signing one at the crowd barrier just fifteen minutes before going on stage!
The choice to play at the medieval Kirkstall Abbey site was inspired – the perfect setting for their new album, ‘The Future is Medieval”. The mood in the Abbey grounds, on both nights, right from the start, was particularly friendly and sociable. The crowd featured fans of all ages, ranging from 3 to 73! Our neighbours, who were there, commented that it was like a big family party – people were just dancing, singing and having the best time. A mini festival feeling, some said! And so it was on both nights with the lads inviting along their own special guests.
As they opened the show with ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’, the whole place just erupted – the sound and lighting were stunning, adding a massive impetus to the whole event. The backdrop of the Abbey was jaw-dropping! As the gig progressed with hit after hit, interspersed with new songs, the Abbey ruins were floodlit creating the most spectacular sight! When the ticker tape was released in the middle of ‘Angry Mob’, my emotions went through the roof!!
To be honest, I didn’t want it to end. By the time they got to ‘Riot’ I was almost beside myself. To watch 10,000 people jumping up and down, singing every word, to a song that your son has helped produce, is unbelievable – what words would describe such a moment for a mum, proud, emotional, astonishing, incredible… and the rest!!!
To round it all off, the fireworks at the end of ‘OMG’ were a stroke of genius – perfectly matching the song and mood of the night – the crowd went wild, as did we! By the time the show ended, we were emotionally wrung out but knew we had witnessed two of their best live shows ever!
Someone said to me, “ How proud does it make you feel when you see all these thousands of people here and all ‘this’ (meaning all the infrastructure etc) and it’s your son they’ve come to see?” I was at a loss to answer because, when I took in her question and thought about it myself, I thought… blimey (or words to that effect), she’s right, that’s my boy… and I’m his mum! Proud as Punch and always will be!
Next time, who knows? But one thing you can be sure of, I’ll be there, quietly smiling inside and feeling so thankful that, all those years ago, we bought him that guitar – yes guitar, in previous bands (anyone remember Parva and Tonic?) he played rhythm guitar!!
Dreams can and do come true!