It’s always a pleasant surprise at a gig to discover that the support band is one that you have actually heard of. I had enjoyed Public Service Broadcasting’s album Inform-Educate-Entertain when I heard it last year but had found it difficult to dispel a feeling that it was a bit “Kraftwerk lite”. Live however, the duo of J. Will goose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth (possibly not their real names) are supplemented by other musicians, including a three-piece brass section on a couple of numbers.

PSB only really do one thing – driving, almost motorik instrumentals backing audio samples from old public service and propaganda films – but they do it well. It does tend to get a bit repetitive after three or four tracks though and they failed to really engage with tonight’s crowd. If they want to fulfil their manifesto to “Teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future” they may need to make their future music a bit more adventurous.

“We’ve worked fucking hard to get back into these big rooms” Kaiser Chief singer Ricky Wilson announces to the 2,500-strong audience “and we are going to work fucking hard to make sure we stay here”. And work hard they do, powering through 2 hours of hits and album tracks from across their 10-year career and barely pausing for breath.

These days, Wilson is possibly better known from his second career as a judge on TV talent contest The Voice where he comes over as a slightly reserved, laid back guy-next-door. Any thoughts that this has softened him up are quickly dispelled as he takes every opportunity to treat the stage as his personal playground, hopping from monitor to monitor across the front of the stage and leaping onto the bass drum, never missing a step. During The Angry Mob he disappears from the stage completely and reappears in the balcony, walking precariously across the second row seats, to the surprise of those sitting in them. Deciding that this is not quite dangerous enough, he then straddles the edge of the balcony and sits with his legs dangling over the edge for the remainder of the song.

The Usher Hall is a fairly genteel kind of a place; more suited to Mozart and choir singing than tonight’s moshing and crowd surfing but, predictably, I Predict A Riot tears the roof off and Ruby along with an unexpected cover of Pinball Wizard keep cranking up the audiences energy levels. The show finishes on an extended Oh My God featuring exuberant audience participation. It doesn’t look like The Kaiser Chiefs will be leaving the big rooms any time soon.

John Scott

Photo Credit “Jaguar XE – Arrival in London (14999312137)” by Jaguar MENA – Jaguar XE | Arrival in London. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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