I Predict a Riot :: Kaiser Chiefs
directed by Charlie Paul

I Predict a Riot is a song by Kaiser Chiefs, appearing on their debut album Employment. It was originally released as their second single on November 1, 2004, and was the band’s first release on the B-Unique label. It entered at # 22 on the UK Singles Chart, a move which started the band’s rise to popularity. It was re-released on August, 22 2005 as a double A-side with a new song, Sink That Ship. This time, it peaked at # 9 in the chart.

Portraying a rowdy night out in their native Leeds, with members from the former band Black Wire, I Predict a Riot is possibly the group’s best-known song, as well as being their signature hit. It is one of the three tracks the band played when they opened Live 8 in Philadelphia, alongside Everyday I Love You Less and Less and Oh My God. The song makes a reference to John Smeaton (“an old Leodiensian“), A Civil Engineer, born in Austhorpe, Leeds after whom the school house of Ricky Wilson was named, as well as the East Leeds school; John Smeaton Community High School.

The song thrives on its Yorkshire heritage with the use of pronouns such as “thee”, a nod to the band’s origins, for “thee” and “thou” survived in Yorkshire dialect, and are still used to an extent today .

Both I Predict a Riot and Sink that Ship were featured on the soundtrack to the video game Gran Turismo 4. I Predict a Riot appeared in Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock as downloadable content alongside present from the start, Ruby.

Take My Temperature, a B-side on the initial release, is a live favorite, notably at earlier gigs. Also, the guitar riff after “who doesn’t want to be out there” is overdubbed with Hammond organ, played by Peanut.

In live performances, the song begins with a drum solo played by Nick and Ricky around the same kit.

The song is also heard at Madison Square Garden when the New York Rangers are losing the hockey game.

This song refers to closing time (11pm) in pubs in the UK, which means people being very drunk and lots of fights. Closing time was eventually moved back in the UK, which spread out the drunkenness.

The song depicts some colorful British characters; “Man in a tracksuit attacks me,” “Girls run around with no clothes on, to borrow a pound for a condom, if it wasn’t for chip fat, well they’d be frozen.”

In the Guardian newspaper, February 24, 2006, Kaiser Chiefs drummer Nick Hodgson said: “I used to DJ with my friend Nick at the Cockpit in Leeds. We’d drive home past a big nightclub and there were always lots of police and people fighting. I went home and wrote the riff on the piano and started singing some words. It says: ‘A friend of a friend, he got beaten.’ That was a friend of Nick the DJ. At our club night, Pigs, we had a band on, Black Wire. They were going mad and so were the crowd. You could see the bouncers moving in and I said to the club’s boss, “I predict a riot.” The structure was there, then everyone invented their own parts. Ricky [Wilson] wrote the second verse. Smeaton was John Smeaton, a leading figure in the development of Leeds; an ‘Old Leodensian’ is someone from Leeds. We thought maybe it was too punky but our manager thought it sounded like 10cc meets the Clash. I was pleased with that. When you play a song to other people you can tell if it’s good or bad.”

Editor’s Note: This song and the Kaiser Chiefs, along with a handful of other songs and bands, mark significantly the early 2000’s for me, and note a shift in music I consumed at the time, both in style and spirit. The music I fell hard and fast for, from that time, still play a part in most playlists and music mixes I put together. This song, though, I had not heard in awhile until recently my oldest daughter included it on a playlist, and I remembered how much I loved it (Everyday I Love You Less and Less seems to be the mixed tape usual suspect more often).

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