Saturday 8th August saw thousands flock to the Féile Big Top in the Falls Park to witness the world famous, multi-million album selling Kaiser Chiefs in action, tearing apart the stage in a way only they know too well, with guitars turned up loud and front man Ricky Wilson, energetic as ever, playing through some of the bands most popular and notorious songs, including the likes of crowd favourites ‘Ruby’ and ‘I Predict a Riot’.
The night was kicked off with local band Go Swim, playing through some of their original songs from their debut EP ‘Animal’ (well worth a listen to), with their unique, fresh sounding bloc party-esque mash up of indie rock and courageous fun sounding frantic beats, this band not only helped to warm up the crowd but also showed just how much exciting talent is coming out of Northern Ireland. Next up were the veterans, Monkeeman, with three local Belfast musicians teaming up with German singer Ralf Luebke to recreate a band that are generating quite a buzz around the music scene as of late with their latest album ‘Lo-Fi against Low Life’s’ due out this September. The band played through some new tracks accompanied with older songs from their past three albums, rocking the minds and moving the bodies of the ever more excited crowd that continued to flow into the Big Top awaiting the Kaiser Chiefs to blow the roof off the place. Monkeeman provided what ended as a brilliant set, well worthy of their spot in the Féile festival and surely gained themselves more followers, as all eyes were firmly fixed upon the band throughout the set.
Finally, it came time for Kaiser Chiefs to take to the stage. By this time you could feel the excitement and a sense of anticipation for what was coming, and once the eager crowd caught one glimpse of the five piece rock band they were welcomed by the Belfast crowd with mammoth cheers and deafening applause. Throughout the set the Kaisers played through some of their most popular and well known tracks, keeping the crowd involved with infectious energy that frontman Ricky Wilson seems to throw out in bucket loads every time he steps on stage. Throughout the night Ricky constantly interacted with the crowd, clearly enjoying every second in front of the ever enthusiastic Belfast audience, even jumping down on more than one occasion to the barrier that separated the fans from the stage, provoking an already ecstatic crowd into an even wilder frenzy, before unleashing more and more of their fist-pumping indie rock anthems, such as ‘Every Day I Love You Less And Less’ and ‘I Predict a Riot’.
The crowd from start to finish were treated to hit after hit from the Kaiser’s previous albums and introduced to a few of their latest songs from ‘Education, Education, Education and War’, that although currently less known to the masses (not for long I would suggest) than their more established hits, still provided the brilliant catchy indie rock melodies and contagious fun chorus’ that we have come to expect from five piece from Leeds. In the end, Kaiser Chiefs closed the show with the crowd favourite ‘Oh My God’ that had the Belfast crowd singing every word of the hit song back at the band louder than frontman Ricky Wilson could even scream it himself. The Kaisers created a memorable finish as they prolonged the outro for ‘Oh My God’, taking a step back and allowing the packed out Belfast crowd to chant the chorus over and over again until they finally tore into a sped up, rockier and more gritty version of the song, to provide the set with a big bang finish, making sure no one was leaving without ringing ears, a sore throat and a massive smile slapped on their faces. A great night, a great crowd, a great gig, and another great success for the ever growing Féile an Phobail, again helping to firmly place West Belfast on the musical map. Niall Donnelly, Gigging NI