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Live Review: Enter Shikari @Electric Ballroom, London
Prophecies From A Moshpit
You may or may not be aware that Nicky Wire (Manic Street Preachers) gave an interview the other day where he commented ‘Rock as I know and love it, does seem dormant at the moment’ in an answer to the question ‘Is Rock dead?’. Is it Bollox!
Clearly his definition of Rock is an extremely narrow one. It represents a relatively short nostalgic period which maybe should be lovingly placed gently on the mantelpiece of life.
The three bands at the Electric Ballroom tonight, letlive., Your Demise and headliner Enter Shikari are the new Ambassadors of Rock, in the Embassy Of What It Is To Be Young And Alive In 2011.
There seems to be an unwritten rule in the cabal of sound desk engineer that I’ve never understood. Where support acts have diminished volume on everything, while the main act is turned up to 11, obviously to make a greater impact for the final band. But very powerful forces in their own right, both letlive. and Your Demise were let down by very muffled vocals. A pity, as they have great messages to impart.
Thankfully it didn’t hinder either of them, and why should it. They are touring on the same bill as Enter Shikari, in itself an acknowledgement of excellence. I am a firm believer of by only surrounding yourself with greatness, will you become great. Tonight holds true to that.
Not many of the crowd have heard of LA Band letlive.. That changes very quickly as their infectious rage takes hold and they receive a justly great response. The tension/intensity building throughout their set, then passing the baton to Your Demise. Much more familiar to the audience, they build the fever to a stomping/bouncing kinetic frenzy.
Then everything explodes. The birth of a universe. All the elements which previously existed in other forms have been remixed, mashed-up to give a whole new life form, Enter Shikari.
(Shamefully) It’s my first time seeing them live. They’ve won numerous live act awards, clearly justified, but it still doesn’t prepare you.
They are the complete opposite of Nicky Wire’s view of Rock. His Rock is very black/white, easily defined, linear, analogue. Enter Shikari are digital high definition, saturated colour, in 3D and encapsulate everything that is modern life.
They are political, they care, they believe, they have hope of a better place, and they want to take you with them. And you will go, willingly.
Having evolved across their first two albums, experimenting, honing their myriad of influences from rock to rave/dubstep, creating a sound that on paper shouldn’t really work, with the imminent release of their third album (A Flash Flood of Colour) in January 2012, it looks like they have found their calling, and it really works.
Tonight ‘A Gap In The Fence’ typifies their sound and range of influence. Starting off acoustically, melancholic, it seemlessly morphs into a Thumping Dubstep, to Rock, to almost Country & Western. And it sounds amazing. The devotion of the young crowd a testament to it working.
Their faithful singing and almost militaristic precision clapping to ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’ is a joy to behold. Let alone the cartoon beats of ‘Jester’ or dubstep splattered rawness of ‘Sssnakepit’. And newbie ‘Quelle Surprise’ originally from the forthcoming album sets the bar very high for future work.
I love most genres of music, and have never really understood how some people like to hibernate in one type. Enter Shikari clearly celebrate variety. But more importantly the clearly celebrate life. It screams out of the speakers and blasts off the stage. This is what Rock is to me. It’s Life. And tonight is about what it is to be alive.
The Mayan Prophecy proclaims that the world will be ending next year. I want to be at an Enter Shikari concert when it happens.
21st October 2011
As long as bands like Sissy & The Blisters and Driver Drive Faster are creating music don’t ever draw that line.