To find myself solo at a last minute Enter Shikari gig did surprise me to say the least (thanks to a last minute invitation from a friend) but quickly turned into a nostalgic appreciation for their eclectic and somehow artful mix of heavy hardcore riffs and eardrum busting electronic dub samples. It should never have worked back in 2003 (pre Skrillex days) but it did and by god it still does now, appealing to ravers and metalheads and political deep thinking anarchists alike. Lead vocalist Rou Reynolds sings in earnest about various socio-political issues, (don’t get him started on Global warming, social injustice and deprivation, or even just the Bank of England) incorporating witty sarcasm in his characteristic Hertfordshire accent into his lyrics is a signature trait of a band who emerged from the underground in 2013 by garnering attention by Zane Lowe from Radio 1 . This came about mainly through their constant gigging and interacting with the punters, and consistently putting on notoriously chaotic and high energy shows. Seeing as they have only released three albums over the last 12 years yet sell out all venues they still have a devoted and varied fan base of all ages across the UK.
Back to Limelight, The band blended all sorts of heavy metal breakdown riffs, trance and drum and bass goodness playing from tracks such as “Myopia” and “Torn Apart” from their new album “The Mindsweep” released in 2015. Reynolds is still a master of the spoken word nonetheless, delivering their iconic intelligent opening commentary verbatim before switching to classic scream mode, then dealing the knockout punch of sweeping guitars and anthemic uplifting choruses in tracks like “The Appeal and the Mindsweep 1” to really get the crowd going. Like the typical Tom Jones Meme, they don’t usually do dance tracks, but when they do they kill it, with “The Last Garrison” and “Anaesthetist” for example. When they play the massive anthems like “Sorry you’re not a winner” and “OK time for Plan B” I am immediately pulled back into the past as my fourteen year old self who danced like a lunatic in my room just to annoy my poor sister ( I later bumped into her at the same gig, who knew I would be such a good influence back then? :P). Bands like Enter shikari don’t just leave the crowd wanting more, they give it. Another three track encore came at the end, delivering more from their first 2006 album “Take to the Skies” to a rapturous crowd. They even did a special rendition of “Merry Christmas” to put the crowd in the festive spirit post-mosh pit, complete with loveable self –deprecating antics and a snowman costume. This sort of behaviour is what makes Enter Shikari legends in their own rights; a winning combination of pure punk ethics through their meaningful lyrics, and that honest ability to not take themselves too seriously. Thanks for taking me back to old times boys.
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