Live Review: Enter Shikari – O2 Academy, Newcastle, October 20th 2009

Enter+ShikariWell into their giant UK tour in support of new album Common Dreads, dance rockers Enter Shikari return to Newcastle for the first time in almost 2-years. With their new record making waves throughout the hustle and bustle of the public, and some particularly zany tunes included for tonight, this one’s sure to be a winner. More so that it’s sold out just today.

In a bizarre opening sequence for any band noticed within the rock world, masked duo True Tiger treat the crowd to a dosage of dubstep, trance, dance, anything to ultimately shake the booty. While it’s not exactly ground-breaking stuff, with one half on a set of turntables in a V for Vendetta mask, and the other barking his share of mastering the ceremony from the front of the stage, it’s still rather interesting and enjoyable to watch.

The odd mosh occurs in a frequency, and people obviously dig the “tunes”. It’s slightly embarrassing watching Shikari frontman Rou prancing up and down in an obvious disguise, no more to the fact that his unmistakeable yells are coming from beneath the balaclava he’s donning, but it works up a sweat for the crowd, and surprisingly the majority are left with their fair share of satisfaction.

The Devil Wears Prada take to the stage in a fit of noise, rage, and ultimately unfufilling scene-moshcore. It’s all breakdowns, growls, breakdowns, breakdowns, and… well, breakdowns, and it gets very repetitive; much so that it makes True Tiger’s efforts sound different and original in comparison. A large chunk of the skinny-jeans-and-belts-lower-than-their-knees-with-a-farmer-shirt-and-baseball-cap crowd lap up the metalcore mob like Christmas has come early however, with moshpits erupting from every corner of the floor in a daze of sweat.

Sound wise, what the band lack in originality, they make up for in pushing power and brute energy tonight; songs sounding heavier than a ten-ton brick. It’s a pity more so, that vocalist Mike Hranica sounds virtually unheard tonight, his microphone reducing him to nothing more than a muffled growl. Half an hour of what sounds like the same song over and over again eventually dies out, for all but a few, this might be a good thing.

Tonight finds Enter Shikari on absolutely sublime form. Entering to an absolute rapture donned in matching green polo’s, the quartet kick things off such as their new record Common Dreads; the intro following straight into a blistering Solidarity sends the audience absolutely mental. They garnish a massive orchestra-like feedback for the end chords before bursting into Step Up. The massive lighting rigs adorning the stage tonight burn the retinas; it adds to the energy-ridden cluster that builds up from the set.

Frontman Rou Reynolds is picture perfect with his vocals tonight, something seemingly hard to do considering the amount of shouting for the new tracks. Though Common Dreads takes up the lions share of the set list tonight, old album Take To The Skies is represented by the likes of the synth-laden Mothership, the crunching Labyrinth, and the… well, “SHIT!” infested Enter Shikari. It’s amazing just how much dance the crowd have in them tonight, nobody stops up for a break, everybody sweats, and nobody gets hurt, it’s one of those nights where everyone has a great time.

New single No Sleep Tonight pummels the senses with it’s monstrous mid-song breakdown, while The Jester performed live is something that just has to be seen to be believed – it’s jazzy, old-record sounding snazz erupting into a frenzied drum & bass monster that devours it’s target. It’s a downside that bassist Chris Batten loses his earpiece in the crowd halfway through the set, eating up valuble play time, (and gauging a promise that drummer Rob Rolfe will produce his testicles if said earpiece is found) but once the train is back on the tracks, it’s largely unnoticeable that his instrument may just be a little out of time.

The band re-appear for an encore of old favourite Sorry You’re Not A Winner, which unfortunately gets absolutely mangled in the process. Rory Clewlow taking his guitar with him to start the song from the bar eats up more song time, and matters only get worse once his guitar fails to perform. A quick change-a-round and the ever-surfing axeman bursts into the track, but after multiple delays, it’s clear it’s just not going to be perfect, clocking in at around ten minutes to play parts of possibly their most famous track. This is remedied by a spectacular closer of new favourite Juggernauts, which utterly destroys and robs its audience of whatever energy they had left.

Enter Shikari sure do know how to make people move, and if they keep performing at the standard shown tonight, there’s nothing that’s going to stop this four-man machine from rolling over the rules, and quite possibly the mainstream in the process. Spectacular.

- George Cannings.

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One Response to Live Review: Enter Shikari – O2 Academy, Newcastle, October 20th 2009

  1. robstep says:

    Love this, enter shikari are amazing!

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