In 1999 I was lucky enough to share a house with Martin and Carl. Martin was a friend of my brother Dave (he’d been at Uni with my sister in law Ruth) and had just bought a house on the Harehills/Roundhay border. He was looking for lodgers and Carl and I were looking for somewhere to live. The years we houseshared there were fabulous with an extended group of friends – Mark, Kev, Davey, Morgan….who were always popping in and out. It was a love of music that gelled us together.
Carl worked with a guy called Simon who was in a band called Parva. Turns out that Mark and Kev knew band member Nick too (well no surprise in Kev’s case – he always seemed to know EVERYBODY in Leeds) so we followed them with interest.
One day, Carl brought home a 4-track Parva demo CD for us to listen to. It was quite good indie fair although I remember not being sure about the vocals “What’s he the lead singer for?”. We went to see them at Josephs Well and within 2 minutes of them coming on stage I said to myself “THAT’S why he’s the lead singer!!!” – Ricky jumped around like a mad thing with the energy of 10 men – a perfect front man……and well over a decade later, things are pretty much the same.
Parva had an album out in 2002, then lost their recording contract when the label folded, reinvented themselves with a bunch of new songs and became the Kaiser Chiefs. The rest as they say is history…..
In recent years, we’ve only been able to see them at festivals or big event gigs, but this years tour is of relatively small venues. When I heard that my cousin Si had a ticket for the Engine Shed in Lincoln, I asked Kaiser mum Teresa if she could possibly get me on the guest list……and she did.
Peanut was very obliging, phoning to make sure we’d got in and giving us passes to the after show gathering. He had to run off soon after the gig finished to do a phone interview with an Australian radio show but hung around to shake our hands and make sure we’d had a good time– a thoroughly nice chap!
We got to the gig just before ‘All the young’ took to the stage. The lead singer is a dead ringer for Bill Nelson and they sounded a bit like the Bunnymen. They gave out some fliers to download a live album…..which had the wrong URL on them…. Not a great start!
The Chiefs took to the stage with the traditional opening of “Everyday I love you less and less” and stormed through a greatest hits set covering all four of their LPs. The new stuff (‘Little shocks’ ‘Kinda girl you are’) is just as strong as the old with my personal fave being ‘Starts With Nothing’.
The audience was a bit older than I’d expected and could potentially have been subdued – but Ricky isn’t happy unless the crowd are interacting. He insists on audience participation, which is a delight to see. Enthusiastic isn’t a big enough word – leaping in the air, getting everyone clapping and echoing his calls in a Freddie Mercury stylee. At one point he disappears from the stage to emerge standing on top of the T-shirt stand at the back of the hall. The ultimate showman – yes, that’s definitely why he’s the lead singer.
Thanks to Theresa and Nick for the Freebie
Bob the Chiropodist