Kaiser Chiefs hoping for ‘a bit of a battle’ as they prepare for VR gig

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson says the band are hoping for “a bit of a battle” when they perform a virtual reality gig from London’s O2 Academy Brixton.

The former Voice UK coach, 42, said the challenge reminded him of playing to nearly empty rooms during the band’s early years in the 2000s.

The indie five-piece, from Leeds, will perform hits including I Predict A Riot and Ruby as well as songs from their recent album Duck through the MelodyVR app, but without an audience.

It will be their first gig in the capital since February’s show at the O2 Arena.

Speaking about the venue, Wilson told the PA news agency: “We have played there more than anywhere else, probably. It’s a home from home.

“We don’t want to get too cosy though, and it’s going to be very different this time. It’s going to be really weird but I like that fact it is unknown because it makes me nervous.

“I like the fact that when we first started we would turn up somewhere that could hold 150 people and we had sold 15 tickets, and we were a bit like, ‘How is this going to go?’

“That anticipation is properly exciting. It’s not exactly the same thing but there is an element of taking us back to that, ‘Will this work?’ I like that.

“I think it is good to have to think that. It might work for some acts. It might not work for other acts.

“It’s not what I want to get used to in any stretch of the imagination, but across our career we have always fought for the audience to come along with us, rather than expecting them to adore you. Because it’s their right not to.

“I’m excited by the fact it might be a bit of a battle.”

Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards – London
Ricky Wilson (Matt Crossick/PA)

MelodyVR technology, which launched in 2018, allows fans to watch concerts through their phones or a virtual reality headset, with a choice of camera angles.

Wilson, whose band are also taking part in the Nordoff Robbins Christmas carol service next month, said they hoped to win over fans at home with a full throttle set.

He said: “There are many ways you can go about it. Usually the way of doing it for most people would be to go more intimate because it might help to reach out.

“But being us I think we are going the opposite and we are going to be ‘bang, bang, bang, bang, bang’.

“As many songs as we can fit in, as much energy as we have got in our system and leave nothing left after, give it everything and try and make it as big and bold as possible. Just like a celebration.”

The musician also called for better support for the music sector amid the coronavirus pandemic and said the industry had been overlooked in recent years.

“The British music industry has been vastly undersupported and underappreciated,” he said.

“I’m not just talking about revenues, which are huge, and I am not just talking about the big guys and girls at the top, like your Ed Sheerans and stuff. I’m talking about us as a whole. The massive cultural impact that this small island can have musically on the world.

“It’s amazing. We get sent out every year to infiltrate Europe with our particular brand of middle of the road indie – that was a joke – and it’s great that we get to represent our country in that way.”

Kaiser Chiefs Live From London broadcasts from O2 Academy Brixton on Saturday November 28 at 8.30pm. Tickets on sale at ticketmaster.co.uk.