The Verse’s Tom Evans reviews Enter Shikari after their show at Brighton Centre on 22nd November 2017.
Going to see Enter Shikari, I wasn’t quite in time for the opening act Astroid Boys. However, I did make it in time for the main support act Lower Than Atlantis. This seems to have happened with support acts at a few gigs I’ve been to recently. I found them a little frustrating.
On the one hand, I found that half of their set was a bit uninteresting. Especially songs from their most recent release, where they had an 80’s hair metal and pedestrian rock tone to them. I guess I used the word frustrating as I did quite enjoy the other 50% of their set. This is because a lot of their early material sounded more exciting. They had echoes of early Weezer and, dare I say it, the pop sheen of The 1975. Tracks such as Emily and English Kids in America were examples of their more interesting side.
Looking around the room it was apparent that, at 34, I was one of the older members of the audience. I guess this is a testament to Enter Shikari’s longevity, and ability to generate new fans. Most of the audience was probably about the same age as I was when I first saw them.
Enter Shikari’s set
After a 10 minute countdown, spliced in between songs on the PA system, the band arrived on stage and opened with The Sights. This is from their new album The Spark, which they are currently touring.
This was followed by a couple of early songs. For example, Solidarity and, my personal highlight of the gig, Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour. This was one of their early songs that got me hooked. It’s certainly not for everyone. It combines the aggression of Metalcore and Hardcore vocals and mixes in trance riffs and vocal harmonies.
Another clear highlight was The Last Garrison from 2015’s The Mindsweep. Probably one of their more traditionally sounding rock songs. Live, the aggression, aligned with the positive message in the lyrics really hit home.
After a few more songs from their back catalogue, they continued to showcase songs from the new album. Rabble Rouser incorporates a Grime bassline into the mix with frontman Rou’s delivery closer rapping for the verses.
The lights went down…
Something quite special happened for the next two songs- Airfield and Adieu. The lights went down and, after a short pause, the lights focus on a piano next to the sound-desk at the back of the venue.
Frontman Rou Reynolds appeared then began with a dedication to “anyone who was having the shittest year of their lives”. This was perhaps his most personal song of the night, with melancholic chorus of “you’re down on your luck, your down, but you’re not out” echoing around the venue. This was quite magical. As I was standing at the back for the rest of the gig, it meant that I was only a couple of rows from the front for the two songs played at this part of the venue.
Once all the band were back on stage, the energy levels increased with Anaesthetist before they launched into their “quick-fire round” where they played Sorry, You’re Not a Winner / Sssnakepit / ...Meltdown / Antwerpen in about 8 minutes.
They finished their set with Redshift and Live Outside which were two of their more accessible songs and perfect for these larger venues that they are playing now. As I previously said, they might not be for everyone. But their mix of hard-core rock and dance culture just seems to click with me and everyone else in the room. These elements, as well as the strength of community and the power of change which feature throughout many of their songs, mean many of their songs both old and new still sound fresh today.