Kaizers Orchestra – Patronaat, Haarlem – 11/03/2006

Oompa till you die.

Oompa till you die.


The Kaizer’s Orchestra sing in Norwegian, which pretty much stops me from being able to quote clever lyrics and discuss the underlying meanings of their most popular songs. But that’s fine because, quite honestly, I’d be a complete cock if I tried to do such a thing and also, they could just be screaming a lot of absolute gibberish on stage and I’d still think they were amazing. Because they are. Amazing that is, not talking gibberish. At least I think they’re not? Anyway, they’re fantastic and every single one of you reading this should take it upon yourselves to try and see this band play live before you die. If you’ve already seen them then you should take it upon yourselves to make sure that one of your friends who hasn’t seen them sees the band before they die. Are you getting the message yet?



Let’s put it simply shall we? The Kaizer’s Orchestra are one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen in my life. Not only that but I think it’s safe to say that they are simply one of the best live bands on the planet. You can take your Red Hot Chilli Peppers, your U2’s, your Rolling Stones and all those other bands that keep getting voted ‘Best Live Band In The World Today’, like your fucking Oasises and you can stick them right up your little brown hole because none of those bands – repeat NONE of those bands – has, at this moment in time, the ability to entertain like the Kaizer’s Orchestra. None of them. If there are 60,000 people singing along, almost anything can sound good and if the crowd are up for it, the atmosphere will be amazing, but how many of those bands come on stage wearing a gas mask? Or have a drummer that plays standing on his drum stool? Or start bashing huge oil drums with crow bars? And how many of them have a roadie dressed as Fat Funky Elvis? That’s right, none of them. The Kaizers Orchestra are something wonderfully different and refreshing.



This gig here in Haarlem was mind blowing and it wasn’t for the fact that they sing in Norwegian, which sounds like a cool language I must say. It was not for the fact that the organ playing Kaizer looked scarier without his gas mask. It was not for the fact that they somehow manage to weld Oompa rhythms to Western Rock structures and make it work. It wasn’t for the fact that their guitarists like to goose step across the stage every now and again. It was not for the fact that one of those guitarists chose his solo opportunity to stand on an oil drum and play exactly three notes. It wasn’t because the singer looks like Jose Mourinho either. Nor was it because the fat bearded double bass player could play like a demon but whistle like a nightingale. And it wasn’t because they spent half the gig bashing oil drums with crow bars and hammers. It was because they did all of this. All of this and more besides, and they did it with class.



Primal, urgent, exhilarating, exciting, electrifying, pick a superlative and it’ll work. They’re loud, they’re passionate and even though half of their show is choreographed it feels vibrant, alive and unique, every single time you see them. On top of all that they’re also sexy as hell, and I’m not talking about their looks (although judging by the screaming ladies in the crowd I don’t think any of the lads on stage has ever to worry about ending up alone on an evening. If they’re that way inclined of course.) But rather I’m talking about the music. The up down up down folk rhythms married to the marching drums and razor sharp guitars just make your body move instinctively. You just can’t help it. If you go to see the Kaizer’s Orchestra you WILL dance, there’s no question about that.


They make you feel alive. They make you feel young and vibrant. They make you feel horny. Their motto is “Rule the continent.” If they put their minds to it, I’m pretty sure they could rule the planet. Oompa till you die? I could think of worse ways to live, that’s for sure.


Words, pictures and hyperbole: Damian Leslie