Kaiser Chiefs, Llangollen Eisteddfod - review
Rockers the Kaiser Chiefs brought the curtain down on what was another successful Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
Llangollen’s Llanfest, the finale full-day festival for the annual International Eisteddfod drew to a triumphant on Sunday with an epic set from English rockers Kaiser Chiefs.
The band’s first ever Llangollen appearance raised the roof of the Royal International Pavilion as they stormed through crowd favourites, including Oh My God, I Predict a Riot and Ruby. The show was the band’s first Welsh gig in almost two years and one of the first opportunities in 2018 for fans in the region to see the band live.
The afternoon kicked off at 2pm with performances from a range of new, contemporary bands on the outside stages of the Eisteddfod field, including Liverpool’s iconic Cavern Club bringing Mersey beats over the water to Wales for the club’s first ever pop-up.
Nineties icons, Toploader, kicked off the evening, performing a raft of the band’s hits including Dancing in the Moonlight and songs from their 2017 comeback album Seeing Stars. A storming rendition of Just Hold On rounded off their set.
Renowned pop rock band, Hoosiers, followed onstage bringing the crowd to a crescendo with their well-known hits including Worried About Ray, followed by an electric cover of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire and closing with crowd favourite, Goodbye Mr A.
The Kaisers burst onto stage opening with Everyday (I Love You Less), the atmosphere was electric with the crowds jumping to their feet and rocking the Royal Pavilion for the next 80 minutes.
Working through the band’s impressive catalogue of hits, the entire set kept the crowds transfixed and dancing to all their favourite tunes, standout songs that proved favourites on the night included Ruby, Never Miss a Beat and I Predict a Riot.
Towards the back end of the blistering set, the band changed the tempo slightly with their version of The Who’s Pinball Wizard, which they first performed in 2012 at the Olympics closing concert and then at Reading Festival. They then ramped the pace back up to a riotous crescendo by way of fan favourite Na Na Na Na Na.
The opening chords of the final number was greeted by thundering cheers around the pavilion as the Kaisers closed the epic show with Oh My God, a performance supported by the vocals of the thousands of fans that packed the pavilion.
Llanfest has grown into a full day festival since it’s launch in 2011. Aimed at a younger audience the festival aims to introduce new audiences the Llangollen and attract festivalgoers from across the country. The announcement of the Kaiser Chiefs 2018 appearance follows the huge success of legendary Welsh band Manic Street Preachers, who raised the roof of the pavilion at the festival finale last year.
It was a triumphant end to the festival, which boasted a world-class line up including Alfie Boe, Calan, Van Morrison, Red Priest, Toploader and the Hoosiers.
Speaking before the event, Ricky Wilson, frontman of Kaiser Chiefs, said: “I’ve heard The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is renowned for its diverse musical performances for promoting a message of global peace and friendship, uniting people through music. Sounds like the kind of thing the Kaiser Chiefs should be part of. So in the spirit of that we cannot wait to perform at Llanfest.”
Toploader guitarist, Dan Hipgrave, said: “We’re excited to join the fantastic line up for Llanfest 2018. The International Eisteddfod is such a musically diverse event and we're looking forward to it."
Chairman of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Dr Rhys Davies, said: “Llanfest was introduced to spread our message to a wider audience, by bringing new and more contemporary music genres to the festival, while still remaining true to its traditional values.
“We are so proud to welcome the thousands of people from all over the world, it has been a feast for all the sense this week; the different cultures and backgrounds all coming together to share and enjoy music. Llanfest has yet again been a high energy finale that helps introduce a new audience to the amazing talents showcased throughout the week.”
Message of peace
Artists and performers from all over the world descended on the North Wales town for one week during the eisteddfod, bringing together different cultures and spreading the message of peace. It all began last Monday and performances took place throughout the week, involving everyone from school children to critically acclaimed artists.
Throughout the week there were various attractions, one of them being The Cavern Club, which played an array of Beatles songs and paid tribute to The Fab Four.
John Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird was also the first person to be honoured as the president for Llanfest, which proved to be the spectacular finale of the weeks events.
The Rotary International Peace Award was won by a group that uses volunteer doctors from the UK and US to advise their colleagues in war zones and low resource countries using encrypted social media.
The Arian Teleheal charity was awarded the accolade, which is sponsored by Typhoo Tea, during the renowned International Celebration concert at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod on Thursday.
On Friday it was the turn of Van Morrison to wow the crowds at the iconic Royal International Pavilion stage on Friday, captivating the crowd with a myriad of Irish folk, jazz, blues and country music.
Morrison opened the sellout show with a rendition of ‘Astral Weeks’, then launched straight into ‘Sweet Thing.’ Both songs were released from the album of the same name 50 years ago in 1968, yet still resonate perfectly today and brought the audience to their feet.
Joined by his eight-piece band, including his Musical Director, Paul Moran, Morrison barely drew breath for the following 90 minutes. This was his first appearance at the International Eisteddfod and he enchanted the entire pavilion with his largely improvised set, featuring favourites including ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, ‘Days Like This’ and ‘Have I Told You Lately’.
It was then all about Llanfest, as Toploader and Kasier Chiefs raised the roof to end another successful year.