Having played two nights at the 3,500 capacity Camden Roundhouse before Christmas, this is a special little show by the St Albans hardcore crew organised by the mighty footwear champions of the alternative scene, Converse – they invested in the legendary venue, allowing it to remain open. Playing a FREE gig to just 350 people in this Oxford Street basement, it’s one of the hottest tickets tonight. We queued up and it was worth it.
Six things we learnt when we saw Enter Shikari in London
1) There is no place for ‘Juggernauts’ or ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’ in the setlist tonight. Those songs are staples of their live set and they’re firm fan favourites but this is what happens when you’ve been a successful band for a decade and you’re only playing a 12-song set. We’ve reached the point in time where Enter Shikari have great songs left over. Bravo.
2) The power of Enter Shikari’s music is even more evident when you see the moshpit starting from the moment they burst into ‘System…’. They play the first three tracks off their most recent album, A Flash Flood Of Colour and there isn’t a dry moment after that. Songs are sung back. Bodies don’t stop flying over the top. The other tunes keep coming. This is fun.
3) Amazingly, French instrumental ambient djent solo producer man, The Algorithm is a perfect fit as support. With enough electronic dance sensibilities to both sound familiar to Enter Shikari fans and fit in with the between-band DJing and enough harsh prog metal bite to get a mini moshpit going, he’s a hit tonight. It’s not easy listening, but why would you want it to be?
4) If the solo man’s live set is an abstract, sonic affair, Enter Shikari show why they are recognised as one of the best British live bands around. Their renowned light show has been pared down to a single pocket-sized red triangle but with frontman, Rou Reynolds clambering over the crowd, affording them dozens of Instagram opportunities, Chris Batten with a now-trademark torch strapped to the headstock of his bass and drummer and Rob Rolfe riling the crowd with the eyes of a madman from behind his kit, they make sure the crowd is hyped. This band does not stop while they can still see their fans moving.
5) The first thing we did when we walked in was buy a bottle of Enter Shikari’s Sssnakepit beer. It wasn’t delicious. This is not the place to talk about why craft beers have a very low hit ratio of being good but whatever.
6) While the virtues of the quality of Enter Shikari’s songs and the vibrance of their live show are all well and good, there is a third facet to this band – one that rears its righteous head both on record and on stage. Rou Reynolds genuinely cares about making a difference. Last year we outlined why Enter Shikari are the UK’s biggest punk band and every time we see them in front of hundreds of people set to shape our future, they always say the best things. We need more bands like this.