Over the course of the last few days I have been lucky enough to attend Enter Shikari‘s shows in Nottingham and Bournemouth. Regular readers will know that I believe Enter Shikari are the best live band on the planet right now and the shows in Nottingham and Bournemouth show exactly why.
I drove the 200 miles to Nottingham on Saturday with very high expectations. Those expectations were matched and surpassed. Enter Shikari quite simply smashed it, they hit the ball right out of the park.
Enter Shikari are perfectionist’s and spent the hours before the show reprogramming lighting sequences and thrashing out ways to improve on what they had done in Glasgow and Edinburgh on the previous evenings.
You would be forgiven for thinking that in the days of incredible light shows, amazing sound and the use of computers there is little that we haven’t already seen at rock concerts. You would be wrong. Enter Shikari’s innovate. Whether it is in their music, their lighting or in there sound Enter Shikari are always looking for a way to do things better.
This tour sees Enter Shikari introduce surround sound into their live performances. I’m not talking a couple of speakers added at the back of the vast cavern that is Nottingham’s 10,000 capacity Motorpoint arena. I’m talking true surround sound, elements of songs assaulting you from behind something that really came to the fore during phenomenal renditions of “The One True Colour” and the recently released “Redshift.”
The film clips on the enormous screen behind the band added to the sense of theatre and were carefully produced to add a visual element to the song if you can drag your eyes away from the spectacle that an Enter Shikari performance already provides.
As the show continued Enter Shikari encouraged us to absorb the spectacle in it’s entirety when Reynolds disappeared to reappear at a piano on an elevated platform situated within the sound desk enclosure in the centre of the arena whilst the rest of the band remained on stage. Admittedly there were a few technical hitches during this section of the show in Nottingham but this was put right for last nights show in Bournemouth.
We even had a comedy moment when at the beginning of “Ghandi Mate, Ghandi” Enter Shikari had the audience singing along to Robbie Williams “Angels.” It may seem a little bizarre, Enter Shikari are a very long way from Robbie Williams, but in my view it shows a band that are more than willing to have a laugh amidst songs that frequently tackle the really big issues of the day.
Make no mistake these shows elevated Enter Shikari from simply being the best live band around at the moment. In my opinion this tour takes Enter Shikari to a totally new level. In over 40 years of attending live gigs and festivals I estimate I have seen somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 bands. These shows earn Enter Shikari the right to be seen in the same light as some of the best performances I have ever seen. I would go as far as to say that only the first time I saw Springsteen perform sits ahead of Enter Shikari in terms of totally absorbing, jaw-dropping brilliance.
Enter Shikari have come up the hard way, they have played the pub gigs and moved purposefully to filling arena’s. Enter Shikari’s band members, Rou Reynolds, Rob Rolfe, Rory Clewlow and Chris Batten are all just hitting 30-years-old. They are approaching the peak of their creativity and if ever a band were destined for stadium rock and major festival headline slots it is Enter Shikari.
After the Bournemouth show the UK leg wraps up with shows in Cardiff, Wrexham, Manchester and Alexandra Palace in London. There are a limited number of tickets available for all but Wrexham. If you are anywhere near any of these venues I urge you to get along to a show if you possibly can.
Support on both nights was from Hackney based Punk and Ska collective The King Blues who were stunning during their short sets on both evenings.
Philadelphia based pop-punk outfit The Wonder Years rounded out a superb evening entertainment.