Kaiser Chiefs


Kaiser Chiefs poster

Kaiser Chiefs lineup 2003-2012
Nick Hodgson (drums and vocals)
Andrew White (guitar)
Ricky Wilson (lead vocals, percussion)
Nick Baines (keyboards)
Simon Rix (bass)
above photo by Paul Rider



Contributor: Damien Joyce

For nearly two decades, Kaiser Chiefs have been one of the UK’s biggest bands, known for chart-topping tunes and boisterous, energetic live shows. This Leeds band have released seven albums to date, two of those albums achieving a number one in the UK album charts.

Kaiser Chiefs burst on to the scene with one of the best debut albums, Employment, which contains so many belters including Modern Way, I Predict A Riot, Oh My God and it sold more than two million copies.

They followed it up with Yours Truly, Angry Mob (2007) which included the hugely popular single Ruby. In hindsight this was a blessing but also a curse as it became all that Kaiser Chiefs were known for over this period.

Even with Mark Ronson co-producing Off With Their Heads (2008) with Eliot James, this album just didn’t go down well or appeal to fans, turning out to be a major disappointment in record sales.

For the next album, The Future Is Medieval (2011), the band went with the unconventional approach and asked fans to choose their favourite ten songs, from a possible twenty that were made available. But there was ultimately also a lukewarm response to it from fans and critics.

In 2014, Education, Education, Education & War saw a huge change in the band having lost their drummer, chief songwriter and founding member Nick Hodgson. He was replaced in the line-up by Vijay Mistry. Despite the doubters, this resurgent album charted unexpectedly high, with songs such as The Factory Gates, Misery Company, Ruffians On Parade and scored their second ever No.1 in the UK.

The stop-start sequence continued in the summer of 2016 when the Chiefs went with an experimental release, a move to a more electronic dance-pop sound with Stay Together, reference the first single from the album, Parachute.

While I admire the band’s attempt to try something new, I don’t think this was as successful as hoped for and they decided to return to more of their rockier roots and form, with Duck in 2019 which has a few good tracks including Record Collection, Wait and People Know How To Love One Another.

In April this year, after a gap of four years since their last album, Kaiser Chiefs offered a single called Jealousy with hopefully a full release to come later.

But over their career, it has been more a roller coaster rather than hitting a steady consistency in quality release output. To be fair, I think the band themselves would be the first to acknowledge this:

After much deliberation, I whittled down my selections to the following ten tracks which I think give the best representation of the band’s work and which spans across their releases.

Modern WayEmployment
Oh My GodEmployment
Everyday I Love You Less And LessEmployment
I Predict A RiotEmployment
RubyYours Truly, Angry Mob
The Angry MobYours Truly, Angry Mob
Everything Is Average NowadaysYours Truly, Angry Mob
Never Miss A BeatOff With Their Heads
Ruffians On ParadeEducation, Education,
Education & War
People Know How To Love One AnotherDuck

Kaiser Chiefs playlist


Those ten tracks are also the ones I would especially like to hear played live, as it’s as a live act that the band truly excel with their infectious energy. Ricky Wilson is still one of the best leading frontmen who creates an instant rapport with the audience.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a live performance by the band this summer, twelve years after that last time I attended one of their shows. From the very beginning, it was clear that the Kaiser Chiefs are past masters at captivating an audience and their stage presence is electric, with their dynamic lead singer, Ricky Wilson, still commanding the stage and the audience’s attention.

Kaiser Chiefs remain a band with plenty of anthems to enjoy live. They continue to deliver!

Kaiser Chiefs photo 2

Kaiser Chiefs @GalwayIntArts Festival 2023
photo by Andrew Downes @xposure101 used with permission





Kaiser Chiefs official website

Discography (Wikipedia)

Kaiser Chiefs biography (AllMusic)

Damien Joyce can be found on Twitter @damienjoyce and on his blog.

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