British boys Enter Shikari played their first headline arena gig at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham last Saturday, and let’s just say that anyone expecting to remain dry was sorely disappointed. It was raucous, sweaty, electric and they even managed to sneak in the odd tear-jerking moment just when the show was getting slightly too punk-rock, making you decide whether you’ll use your only tissue to wipe your tears or dry your sweaty face. From start to finish it was a scientific freak show, clashing new material with the old fan favourites.
Shikari are all too well-known for their 2006 hit ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner,’ and since then, the quartet have climbed steadily into the mainstream, merging hardcore metal, alternative rock and electro to create a power-driven hybrid of musical philosophy.
Opening with ‘Solidarity,’ the band smashed through a few of their older songs- received with a frenzy from the crowd. They played ‘The Last Garrison,’ the first single from their latest album The Mindsweep, and mashed it up with ‘No Sleep Tonight,’ a song from their 2009 record Common Dreads; practically screaming “look at us now!” Bringing their older material together with their newer work, they demonstrated their musical growth, whilst clearly showing that their passion and creativity is still going strong.
Lead singer and frontman Rou Reynolds disappeared just over half way through, to reappear at a piano, on a platform in the centre of the crowd under a single spotlight. Performing ‘Dear Future Scientists’ followed by a stripped back version of ‘Juggernauts,’ and turning the crowd into a thousand-strong choir to accompany him; it’s safe to say even the most stone-hearted of fans had to hold back the tears. However, as if technology was telling them to get over it and get back to punk, the piano microphone failed several times and Rou eventually gave up and decided to crowd surf back to the stage with a fan, perhaps the ultimate retort for anyone who thought they were drifting from their roots by using some pretty piano music.
The encore was, for me, the highlight of the show; playing their latest single ‘Red Shift,’ nu-metal health-service-protest-song ‘Anaesthetist,’and ending on ‘The Mindsweep,’ the show ended in a gritty, funky, metallic feat of defiant innovation and left the crowd buzzing to know what these four lads from Hertfordshire would come up with next.