Being such a DIY tour – programming the video screen content and 4.1 surround sound mix ourselves, for example – it seems only right and proper that we apply that approach to the documentation of the show too. Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, and all that”.
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.
Regular readers are probably aware by now that I think Enter Shikari are by some distance the best live band in the world right now. I enjoy them so much that I am attending three of their seven upcoming arena shows. I will be taking in the shows in Nottingham, Bournemouth and at London’s Alexandra Palace. I was already pretty excited by a lineup that includes support from The Wonder Years and a recently reformed The King Blues.
An announcement by Enter Shikari today announce the addition of London’s Arcane Roots to the bill of their Alexandra Palace headline show later this month. Currently writing and demoing for their second full-length album, Arcane Roots join a bill that also includes Pennsylvania’s The Wonder Years and the freshly-reformed original line-up of The King Blues.
Frontman Rou Reynolds had this to say ; “the Arcane Roots boys supported us in Europe last year and we had such a good time, and they’re such a great band, that it was a no-brainer to have them along for this show when the opportunity arose. We’re really looking forward to presenting such a diverse bill to the punters of Norf London”.
Enter Shikari recently released not only a brand new stand-alone single, ‘Redshift’ but also a digital only live acoustic EP recorded in the Victorian Theatre at Alexandra Palace in December 2015 in front of a handful of friends and competition winners.
The band tours the UK up to the Ally Pally show, before heading out to Europe for headline shows.
Enter Shikari – The Mindsweep Tour – UK – Feb 2016
Thurs 18 – Glasgow – O2 Apollo
Fri 19 – Edinburgh – Corn Exchange
Sat 20 – Nottingham – Motorpoint Arena
Mon 22 – Bournemouth – International Center
Tues 23 – Cardiff – Motorpoint Arena
Thurs 25 – Manchester – Victoria Warehouse
Sat 27 – London – Alexandra Palace
I am a massive fan of Enter Shikari. They are an incredibly talented outfit who are not afraid to mix up their sound. When you check out an Enter Shikari album you can expect to find dub step fused with rock, electronica fused with metalcore, always fresh always interesting.
It does sometimes take a few listens to reach an understanding of where songs are coming from but the effort is repaid in spades.
Today has seen Enter Shikari drop their new single, Redshift and if this is anything to go by it may indicate that the next Enter Shikari album may be more of a straight rock affair. I listened a few times to get the feel of it but it was only when I watched the video that things really fell into place. The video is visually stunning and really helps to put the lyrics into context. You Reynolds is a master song-writer and this tune may indicate that he is currently on a creative high.
Produced by the band and Mindsweep producer Dan Weller, and mixed by Tim Bran (London Grammar, La Roux, The Verve), the track is accompanied by a video directed by Mike Tyler (responsible for the bands previous videos Anaesthetist and Torn Apart)
As vocalist Rou Reynolds explains:
“Redshift is a song about bloody good luck! On the grandest of scales! Literally! Our universe is expanding faster and faster and a few trillion years from now, everything will have sped away from us so fast that all we would see when looking out from Earth is empty space. We would deduce that we were totally alone in the universe. A lost sheep. The last and only biscuit in the tin”
‘Redshift’ arrives ahead of the band’s most ambitious UK tour; bigger rooms than they have headlined in before, utilising quadrophonic sound for the first time in their live career, and their largest production to date. Support comes from The Wonder Years and the freshly-reformed original line-up of The King Blues.
Following the UK run, Enter Shikari head to mainland Europe for a tour that includes the band’s biggest German shows ever, and see them joined by The Qemists for the first half of the tour, and Modestep for the remainder.
The full dates are as follows:
ENTER SHIKARI – THE MINDSWEEP TOUR 2016
FEBRUARY – UK.
THUR 18 – GLASGOW – O2 Academy
FRI 19 – EDINBURGH – Corn Exchange
SAT 20 – NOTTINGHAM – Motorpoint Arena
MON 22 – BOURNEMOUTH – International Center
TUES 23 – CARDIFF – Motorpoint Arena
THUR 25 – MANCHESTER – Victoria Warehouse
SAT 27 – LONDON – Alexandra Palace
Enter Shikari are playing a run of UK dates early in the new year. The tour will see Enter Shikari move up to arena’s as their popularity grows.
“The King Blues are such an important British band. With music influenced by many different genres and cultures, and lyrics that represent and reinforce the people. Its great to have them back.”“We had a blast when we toured together a few years back, so can’t wait to go off galavanting around the country with them again.”“And for all those folk (usually the grumbling, weathered and out of touch) in the media asking “Where are all the bands with something to say?” Well, here’s three bands who – even though they approach it from different directions – create music that stems from punk; and carry its spirit, its invigorating power, and its willingness to engage with issues both personal and social”.
Enter Shikari’s Mindsweep album is undoubtably one of the best albums of the year to date. Enter Shikari are well known for their willingness to experiment with their music and they are never afraid to add unexpected elements to their sound.
I reported a few week ago that Enter Shikari were due to release a remix of the Mindsweep in collaboration with Dance orientated label Hospital Records. The Mindsweep: Hospitalised is a complete reimagining of the tracks on the album and today Enter Shikari have released a video of the second song to get the hospital treatment. “There’s A Price On Your Head” has been remixed by Drum and Bass Legend Danny Byrd.
Enter Shikari front-man Rou Reynolds says “We presented Danny with this absolutely raucous track with ridiculous time signatures, all of which were outside of his comfort zone and he turned it into a summery tune! You’d never think this song could be anything but furious but what he’s done is awesome”
‘The Mindsweep: Hospitalised’ is released October 30th on Ambush Reality/Play It Again Sam and available on CD, 2 x orange vinyl and digital formats. Pre-order bundles and more details are available from:http://www.entershikari.com/enter-shikari-hospital-records-presents/
Enter Shikari have also this week re-released vinyl versions of back-catalogue albums ‘Take To The Skies’ (now as a clear vinyl 2xLP set) and ‘A Flash Flood Of Colour’ (red & yellow splatter vinyl and in a new sleeve from previous pressings). The releases are available from all good record stores and from the band’s own store: http://www.entershikari.com/store
Regular readers will know of my admiration for Enter Shikari. They are an incredible band, really grounded guys and amazingly creative. Enter Shikari are never afraid to push the boundaries of rock music and they always showcase a wide range of influences in their albums. Enter Shikari also have a history of reimagining their work.
In January of this year Enter Shikari released their fourth studio album, The Mindsweep and today announced that they will release a remixed and reimagined version of the album on October 30th. ‘The Mindsweep: Hospitalised‘ will be released on Ambush Reality/Play It Again Sam, and is a collaboration between Enter Shikari and London-based Hospital Records, who since 1996 have become one of the world’s foremost labels in drum & bass music.
‘The Mindsweep: Hospitalised’ sees every track on Enter Shikari’s UK Top Ten album ‘The Mindsweep’ reimagined by some of the most respected and cutting edge artists working in drum & bass today; including the likes of Metrik, S.P.Y, Danny Byrd, London Elektricity (a coup in itself, with L.E’s take on ‘Dear Future Historians’ being their first remix in nearly three years), Keeno and more.
As vocalist Rou Reynolds explains: “We’ve always been big on our B-sides and remixes, with every album we’ve always tried to get a load of drum & bass remixes done. Hospital-wise we did one with High Contrast around the time of our second album ‘Common Dreads’, for instance. While we were making ‘The Mindsweep’ we started the idea of having a consolidated collection of just d’n’b tracks. Because ‘The Mindsweep’ is such a varied album we just thought it’d be quite interesting to see what a drum & bass take on each track would be, and Hospital’s the one label that I personally have been into forever.”
I am personally not a fan of Drum & Bass music, if I am honest it all sounds the same to me and I find it pretty dull as a rule. I do however love The Mindsweep so it will be interesting to see how this works out. If the version of Anaesthetist above is anything to go by it will certainly be intense.
‘The Mindsweep: Hospitalised’ will be available on CD, 2 x coloured vinyl LP, and download. It is available for pre-order from today from: http://www.entershikari.com and will be available in all record stores, online retailers and streaming services from October 30th.
Over the past decade Enter Shikari have gone quietly about their business, building a huge fanbase, releasing four hugely successful albums and slowly becoming arguably the most important British band of the modern era. 2015 saw Enter Shikari return to Download Festival for the third time. This time to headline the Zippo Encore stage with their own full stage production. I was excited to grab an interview with the band before their appearance.
Friday evening at Download saw me return to my van soaked to the skin and exhausted after a day trekking round the various stages taking photographs, conducting interviews and where possible, watching bands. On getting back to the Van my heart missed a beat and it had nothing to do with the weather. I logged onto my iPad to catch up with the outside world and was hit by the news that Dave Grohl had broken his leg falling from a stage in Gothenburg and Rou Reynolds had been hospitalised as a result of a reaction to medication. My heart sank.
On Saturday morning I sought out Enter Shikari’s PR representatives and breathed a sigh of relief when I found out that the show would be going ahead although the warm-up gig in Bristol the previous evening had been cancelled.
Sunday saw me catching up with Enter Shikari drummer Rob Rolfe prior to the bands performance. Rob told me that “Rou isn’t feeling well at all. He had a really bad reaction to a new antihistamine that he takes for his hay fever. He was really ill on Friday and we had to cancel Friday’s gig. We were all gutted because its only the third show we have ever cancelled in over 10-years as a band.”
Rob continued “Rou hasn’t slept for two days so he isn’t up to doing any press and he may not be quite himself tonight. He is trying to get some rest in the tour bus and hopefully he will be fit enough to put on a great show for everyone tonight.”
I asked Rob how it felt to be back at Download for the third time, especially as they guys have previously credited the festival with helping to break Enter Shikari as a band. Rob said, “We will always be really grateful to Download. They were the first festival to give us a chance. We had been playing pubs and clubs up and down the country for three years and suddenly here we were at a major festival”
Rob continued, “we couldn’t quite believe it, suddenly we were on the other side of the fence, we had all gone to festivals as teenagers and here we were playing at one of the biggest. We will always be grateful to Andy Copping and Download for putting us on. It really was an incredible feeling.”
Rob admitted to being really excited as he told me “we just got here a couple of hours ago but the crew got here last night to set the stage up. They have been sending us pictures of the stage with all our gear, this huge wall of lights. It’s so exciting to be able to bring our own production, especially as the likes of Lamb of God are on before us. It’s the biggest buzz of being headlining being able to bring our own production.”
Rob explained that Enter Shikari always set out to “give the audience as much as we can for their ticket price.” He explained that “the visual impact of our shows is important but we leave the lighting etc to the technical guys, we don’t really have a plan as to how we all act on stage, we just run about according to what feels right, hopefully if we are having a great time the audience are too.”
As we talked it was clear just how much their fans mean to Enter Shikari. Rob told me that if Rou wasn’t quite himself then “the fans will carry us through. We have amazing fans and they will sing the lyrics for us if needs be. This is such a big deal for us. We have been looking forward to tonight for months and the feedback from the fans has told us how excited they are too.”
“So many people have been sending Rou messages wishing him well.”
In recent days Enter Shikari announced that they are taking the Mindsweep tour into Arena’s next year and Rob told me how excited they all are to be moving up another level. “We are so excited about the tour. It marks a new chapter and is without doubt the pinnacle of our career so far. We can’t wait it’s so exciting.”
I asked Rob to explain whys many different sounds come into Enter Shikari’s music. He explained “we all have very eclectic tastes in music. Between us we like metal, dance, rock, jazz and even classical. When it comes to writing songs normally Rou comes with an idea and we all work together to mould it into an Enter Shikari song. We try not to limit ourselves. That helps to keep it fresh for us and the audience. We don’t want to be held back by artificial and restrictive barriers.”
“We hope that people think that Enter Shikari do whatever they want and that they understand that. They seem happy to go with whatever we come up with. We like that and our fans seem to as well. When we write we all have an input and we work out what works for the song, its not four separate layers, its whatever works for the song.”
Rob also revealed that they were delighted to have been asked to play two sets at this years Glastonbury. They are hoping that on the John Peel stage they will be able to play the better known songs and he hinted that there may be a few surprises for the hardcore fans who get to Left Field early enough to find a place.
I am delighted to report that Rou Reynolds seemed to have grabbed some rest on Sunday afternoon because Enter Shikari pulled off a blinding 75 minute 14 song set amidst a terrific stage production. If or was still under the weather he hid it well.
In my book, and I make no apologies for stating this, Enter Shikari are the best live band of their era. They are endlessly creative, they care about their fans and they want to do the best they possibly can every time they set foot onstage. I really believe they will continue to grow as a band and one day, not too far away, they will headline both Download and Glastonbury. Enter Shikari also demonstrate that nice guys can be winners too.
You can follow me on Twitter as @soundofmysummer.
Now I don’t know about you, but
I don’t think…
the primary purpose of your life, of my life,
and the entirety of the human race
Is just to blindly consume to support a failing economy and a faulty system
For ever and ever
Until we run out of every resource
And have to resort to blowing each other up to ensure our own survival.
I don’t think…
We’re supposed to sit by idle
While we continue to use a long outdated system
That produces war, poverty, collusion, corruption,
Ruins our environment and threatens every aspect of our health,
And does nothing but divide and segregate us,
I don’t think…
How much military equipment we’re selling to other countries,
How many hydrocarbons we’re burning,
How much money is being printed and exchanged
Is a good measure of how healthy our society is.
But I do think…
I can speak for everyone when I say…
We’re sick of this shit.
* I don’t own the rights to any of this, it all belongs to the brilliant Enter Shikari. I’m sure they won’t mind my sharing it with you, but it sums up how I feel today!
In an interesting turn up just days before both bands appear at this years Download Festival Rou Reynolds and Enter Shikari have covered a Muse song and released a video of it.
Muse headlines Downloads main stage on Saturday whilst Enter Shikari headline the second stage on Sunday.
Supermassive Black Hole is a track from the fourth (and best) Muse album Black Holes And Revelations. The cover begins in a manner faithful to the original but Reynolds takes it off into a much more stripped back vibe. It’s great check it out.