KAISER CHIEFS with OK GO at the Mod Club Theatre, May 29. Tickets: $17. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNN
Chicago-based OK Go would have received an easy passing grade for their Edge 102-ready brand of safe 'n' fun power pop rock alone last Sunday night at the Mod Club .
While smoke machines spewed a black cloud behind them, the quartet clanged out major chords and tickly riffs, and lead Go bro Damian Kulash 's cool-guy charisma was a good fit with their accessible indie rock sound.
But the band's grand finale overshadowed the remainder of the show. Putting away their instruments, they did stretches behind Kulash, who yelled, "If you hated the rock show, you're really gonna fuckin' hate this!"
A CD track came on and the four launched into a four-minute-long airband routine led by the OK Gos' Paul Shaffer-esque bassist, Tim Nordwind . It may have been the most brilliant thing I've witnessed at a live show.
Perfectly synchronized, the group's choreographic mania moved through Daft Punk's Around The World video cross-bred with the opening sequences of Saturday Night Fever-meets-Austin Powers, with vintage Aguilera thrown in for good measure.
They broke it down to a pseudo-fight routine including some Matrix-ish slow-motion punches.
Half the crowd was kind of slack-jawed, like, "How the fuck are these guys so good at this?" while the other half was in full-blown hysterics.
Soon Leeds, England's fashionable five-man Kaiser Chiefs came out to cheers from a slightly larger audience and did what they do, which is very close to what Franz Ferdinand do.
Kaiser-in-Chief Ricky Wilson gave it his arty-rock best, belting out clangily derivative nu-hits while sweating in his dress shirt, spinning his mic and repeating his best move: a leap in the air with his legs kicked to the side. He also indulged in the most predictable crowd-riling tactics - does anyone in Toronto actually care when a band says that Montreal was louder last night?
Announcing that the show was being taped for radio broadcast, he led the crowd in a dopey when-I-say-hello-you-say-hello thing. Had I been listening from home, I would've changed the station.
Still, energetic set, glossy sonic dynamic with lots of call-and-response hooks and gleeful nah-nah-nahs. But it's all relative - they'd've been really great had OK Go not entirely blown their whole set away in advance.