Date: November 21st 2017
Venue: Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
Support: Astroid Boys / Lower Than Atlantis
From day one, St. Albans’ Enter Shikari have been more or less completely DIY, at least as much as is feasibly possible whilst also continuing to grow. With that in mind, tonight’s almost sold out show at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse could mark as the biggest show held there by a DIY act to date, bringing a full-scale production with them to celebrate and promote their latest full-length, ‘The Spark’.
The grime scene has surged in recent years, and so openers Astroid Boys’  style of splicing this together with almost jagged hardcore punk undertones has seen them rise with the current. Though their socially conscious lyrics spat out by Benji, Traxx, and Dellux through songs like ‘Dirt’ and ‘Foreigners’ are certainly relatable, it’s a shame that a lot of it gets lost in an admittedly muddy mix. Still, pits open upon ‘Razz’ and ‘Dusted’, but it’s just hard to comprehend how the few that try to crowd kill can actually do that to the material the Cardiff lot have to offer.
Things take a more pop-rock route come the appearance of Watford boys Lower Than Atlantis , who have pop licks and hooks sharper than James Bond’s tuxedo, kicking right into proceedings with the infectious ‘Had Enough’. Much like Astroid Boys, at times the mix sounds a little fuzzy and everything bleeds into one another a little too much, but the melodies for the likes of the pogo inducing ‘Dumb’ and ‘English Kids In America’ manage to triumph and shine through.
Having already celebrated the tenth anniversary of their debut ‘Take To The Skies’ over the summer, and then releasing fifth album ‘The Spark’ in September, 2017 has been a hell of a year for Enter Shikari , and you’d be forgiven for expecting any sparks and flames had been frazzled out by now, but the St. Albans troupe prove tonight that they’re anything but burnt out.
‘The Sights’ sees us into the next hour of Shikari splendour, and things get super sssweaty pretty quickly. Donning suits and shirts across the board, thankfully their prim and proper looks don’t represent the brilliantly bonkers set that ensues, dipping and weaving into cuts like ‘Solidarity’, ‘Take My Country Back’, and ‘The Last Garrison’.
By the time we reach ‘Radiate’, things escalate a little, and a circular video backdrop comes into focus. With ‘Rabble Rouser’, as the room bounces from front-to-back in unison, an enlarged image of frontman Rou Reynolds‘ face is looking down on us, much like one of the Cromulons from Rick And Morty. Infact, whilst we’re on the subject, with his bouffant quiff, fringe, and mullet combo and professor-esque glasses, Reynolds resembles what you’d expect a young Rick would look like, right?
The stage goes dark, and a radar screen appears, showing a moving object whilst the speakers in the Victoria Warehouse replicate the sound of an aircraft flying overhead, and, all of sudden, both Reynolds and drummer Rob Rolfe are together on a small stage on the balcony above the sound desk, and it’s hard to not get choked up with the heart string tugging ‘Airfield’ and ‘Adieu’, the latter of which sees the room bellow out “Home could be anywhere when I am holding you” in harmony whilst they return back to the main stage with the other members of the band.
The four-piece bring the night to a close with an onslaught that they refer to as “the quick-fire round”, performing a medley of ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’, ‘Sssnakepit’, ‘…Meltdown’, and ‘Antwerpen’ within 8 minutes, leaving the room exhausted before delivering the final blow of ‘Zzzonked’, aptly leaving everyone zonked out. Well, that is at least until the curtain closer of ‘Live Outside’, which Reynolds precedes by describing as a song about “kicking anxiety in the shins, and spitting in destiny’s face.”
One of the most prominent call-to-arms refrains from Enter Shikari is “and still we will be here, standing like statues.” What makes the St. Albans collective build such solidarity in their fanbase is their ability to connect and meld communities and music fans from all walks of life, and you can bet on your life that up until the tragic day that Enter Shikari are no more, we still will be here, standing like statues. One of – if not the best live band around today, without question.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)