Live at L'Aeronef (Lille) on Saturday, 12th May 2007
A strange little venue, on the third floor of a shopping centre. The key word though is 'little'. About the same size of the Met, it's smaller than anywhere you're likely to find the Chiefs in this country any more. The band didn't seem to mind the intimate surroundings though, giving their all as ever. Unfortunately, their all wasn't that much. They looked completely worn out, the constant touring since February clearly taking its toll. At one point singer Ricky Wilson asked drummer Nick Hodgson if he was tired, as he looked it, although Nick replied that he was just hot.
Not that the crowd noticed anything, happily shouting along all the words and going completely mad for the band. Opener Everyday I Love You Less and Less set the gig up nicely, but it was when they played biggest hit Ruby that the crowd really went wild. The set was heavily loaded with songs from new album Yours Truly, Angry Mob, with eight songs compared to five from Employment. This meant the loss of Saturday Night and Born To Be A Dancer, but this was more than made up for by the inclusion of b side Take My Temperature, during which Ricky dived into the crowd and surfed back... and back... and back. As those of us at the front were wondering just where he'd got to he stood up on the bar where a pint had been waiting for him, and introduced the rest of the band in turn.
Highlights of the set included 'Merci Beaucoup' (Thank You Very Much), I Can Do It Without You (one line of which became 'and something else but I can't remember the words'), and of course I Predict A Riot. All too soon came Retirement, known to be set closer by anyone who saw them on their last UK tour.
The only lowlight of the evening was the truly terrible security. The venue has a strict no camera policy, and I actually saw one bouncer take one from a girl and delete all the photos. Body searches on the way in required the queue to be separated into male and female lines, and crowd safety seemed to be fairly low on the list of priorities.
Called back for an encore, the band appeared looking scarily like the Village People in construction hard hats. The bassist was first to remove his, earning the reprove 'Simon Rix you curly coward' from Nick, although he looked relieved to remove his soon after. It really didn't go well with his blouse, the same that he wore all through the UK tour. Oh My God ended the night, and the band left with huge smiles after yet another great gig. However many gigs they do, they never seem to lose their enthusiasm, they always look happy to be on stage and never give the impression that it's a chore to be got through. That's one of the reasons they have such devoted fans, many of who had travelled from England and Germany to be there. Roll on Wireless!