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Chart-topping Leeds rockers Kaiser Chiefs predict a riot at Northern Meeting Park when they return to Highlands after previous jaunts at Belladrum and Strathpeffer Pavilion to showcase 15 years of hits – including Every Day I Love You Less and Less, Oh My God, and Ruby

By Kyle Walker

FOR a stadium-filling band like the Kaiser Chiefs, their history with the Highlands goes back further than you might think.

The Leeds rockers – known for Oh My God!, I Predict a Riot, and the number one single Ruby – return to the UK’s proper north for an outdoor headline show at the Northern Meeting Park on Saturday.

While it might be their latest show up in the Highlands, it is by no means the first – Belladrum attendees will remember their headline slot on the Saturday night back in 2015.

And the band also performed two shows at the Strathpeffer Pavilion back in 2008, with both gigs selling out in 10 minutes.

However, those with very long memories will remember their first concert in the Highlands didn’t even see them at the top of the bill – a show at the Raigmore Motel back in 2004, where they opened up for the Ordinary Boys.

“That gig was the start of the Kaiser Chiefs, really,” bassist Simon Rix said. “Around then, we did our own version of Oh My God, got it made into CDs by Drowned in Sound label.

“We got a couple hundred made, and we did two gigs in northern Scotland and we sold them all out! We thought, ‘Oh wow, this is going quite well!’ It kind of made the whole tour, you know what I mean?

“Strathpeffer was sort of the unique kind of warm up – we were playing Elland Road that summer, so we wanted to get somewhere out of the way to play some new songs and test some stuff out. Everyone was very into that and very welcoming.

“And Belladrum, I remember last time it being a great gig. People were well up for it, as you’d expect. I think people appreciate it when you travel to them rather than them having to get in the car and go somewhere else.”

How times have changed for the Kaisers, from selling a couple of hundred singles to platinum-selling albums over the course of 15 years.

And their return to the Highlands has been preceded by the release of new album Duck a mere week and a half ago. The seventh in their discography, the album hit number three in the charts and, according to Simon, has everything you would hope for from the band.

“The new songs fit into the set really easily,” he said. “We definitely think about what we’re going to play live when we’re making the record.

“We want to make sure that there are three, four, five songs on the album that we can stick in the set. That is for us maybe as much as the audience, you know – new things to play and keep it interesting and keep it exciting.

“I think this album’s a lot about getting people moving as well. Even a song like Target Market which is quite a slow song, I think that’s quite a great song for live, because it’s got a big singy chorus but also a groove at the bottom of it which means you’re moving – you’re not just watching and being passive, you know?

“I think at the base of it, it’s a song you can dance to, so which is really important for this album. It’s juicing into the sort of northern soul kind of area – we just wanted to make sure things had that groove at the bottom.”

That [Raigmore Motel] gig was the start of the Kaiser Chiefs, really...

Not that it means that the band will be chopping the old favourites from the setlist. “I think people come to see us because they know they’re going to have a good time, and they’re going to hear some songs they know, and some hits they know.

“And I think as we’ve got bigger our personal challenge is to make sure that everybody has a really good time. I think we’ve all said that I guess some bands are about them and they’re performing for you, whereas for Kaiser Chiefs it’s all about the audience.

“Without a great audience our gigs are much, much less good. So we’re looking for singing from everybody – we’ll play the classics.”

And with Duck out and doing well, things continue to roll on for Kaiser Chiefs – with maybe some new classics to be added.

It’s an album that Simon is proud of, certainly. “Yeah, definitely – it’s slightly mad!

“I spoke to somebody earlier actually and I was talking about how in our career in album four and our last album we tried to do different things, but the rest of the albums we’ve been trying to do different versions of the Kaiser Chiefs – and it gets more and more difficult the more times you do it to do something original while remaining true to what the band is, or what people expect of you.

“And in the chat they mentioned The Beatles and, yeah, The Beatles changed a lot, but also The Beatles, they only existed for like seven or eight years. So we’re already double the lifespan, which is quite crazy!”

He pauses, before laughing and adding with his dry Leeds drawl, “Obviously they did more albums though so we’re somewhat behind!”

Kaiser Chiefs play the Northern Meeting Park, Inverness on Saturday, with support from The LaFontaines and Miracle Glass Company. Tickets cost £38.50 and are available from Caffrey’s Menswear, Eastgate Centre as well as from the event box office on the day. For more info, go to www.kaiserchiefs.com

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