There were three reasons I knew Enter Shikari‘s Nottingham gig was going to be amazing:
1. The Date: 12-12-12 – the beginning of the apocalypse.
2. Awards: The Kerrang best live act twice and nominated twice more.
3. Rob Rolfe: He had said this would be the gig when their set was perfected.
I was right.
The St Albans four piece who claim to have been “abusing music genres and worthless boundaries since 2003” bought their unique set to Rock City. The band had two supports, Engine Earz and Cancer Bats with the latter really getting the crowd in the mood. Their cover of Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ created an atmosphere in which air could have been seen beneath everyone’s feet the majority of the time. Their finale of ‘Hail Destroyer’ provided me with a fourth reason for why I knew Enter Shikari were going to really perform – it was incredible and they had warmed the crowd up perfectly.
Before the band had even come on mosh pits had formed and eagerness for what was to come was clearly evident from what can only be described as a rowdy crowd. When Enter Shikari were ready to come on, they had a theatrical recording, counting them down from ten minutes. As the recording declared another two minutes had gone by, the crowd cheered anticipating Rou, Rob, Chris and Rory’s arrival. The band came on playing ‘System…’ the opener from their recent release A Flash Flood of Colour, and then straight onto the conjoined ‘Meltdown…’. There was a real excitement in the air, which reminded me that a bad crowd doesn’t necessarily make for a bad gig, but there are times when it certainly doesn’t help. Tonight there was no-one in the sold out Rock City who wasn’t a big fan of the band, but the most important factor was the fact that there was nobody in the room who wasn’t there to have fun.
Although heavily focused on performing from the new album (only two songs missed out) the band went between their other two releases: ‘Take to the Skies’ and ‘Common Dreads’ to provide a little diversity. The first of this change was ‘Antwerpen’, a sfull on intense song, and once it was finished everyone’s faces had the same look on them, tiredness. However, Enter Shikari have always been known for their loyal fans and subsequently it didn’t matter how hard they jumped or how hard they pushed, they were always ready to do it over and over again.
My particular highlight came when they turned to their second album Common Dreads to play ‘Gap in the Fence’. The acoustic performance by Rou was flawless, and it highlighted the real talent not only of himself but the whole band. The harmonies were tight and the electric drop at the end kicked the song into the memories of each crowd member. Before going off for the first time, they played ‘Mothership’: one of the most well known songs from ‘Take To The Skies’, though the version was remixed and moved into the new era of the Enter Shikari sound. At first I was hesitant with the new sound portrayed when listening to A Flash Flood of Colour, but when performed live my hesitance was simply my mind holding onto the old sounds of ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’, ‘Empty’ and other early tracks. This development was incredible, the band have propelled themselves into a new section of the population and a seeing a small band like this grow can only be a good thing.
The band came on for the encore jokingly shouting “who knew we would be back on? Course you did!”. The three song encore saw them play their new single ‘Pack of Thieves’; ‘Constellations’ and ‘Zzzonked’ from their second album. The standout song was ‘Constellations’: after seeing a crowd mosh, and jump, and get aggressive with one another, this slow paced song got everyone’s attention focused on the talent being illustrated. Streams of silver were shot into the crowd to represent stars, as well as snow, and they finished the song by saying ‘Merry Christmas’.
I saw the band in 2005, when they had re-released the track ‘We Can Breathe in Space’ and since then I have been disappointed with the performances I have seen during festival season, however it was a welcome relief to see the band back to their best, playing with the crowd in the palm of their hand and leaving everyone walking away saying that was “one hell of a gig”. Enter Shikari are a band to be seen. There is nothing else that can be said, even if you are not a massive fan, you will leave any venue saying you are.
…Daniel has been listening to Fish Tank – Ginny…