I think I’ve given myself whiplash.
I’d really not rather have to go and get a neck brace tomorrow. It would be really inconvenient to be honest. But unfortunately the Enter Shikari show at Huxleys last night was not exactly a foot-tapping affair.
I have a history with this band. In the 13 years that have passed since ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner‘ slam-danced its way into the earline of the British rock scene, I’ve witnessed its progenitors play live on a number of occasions. From the biggest festival stages in the land to intimate homecoming gigs in South England’s sweatiest venues, there is no setting that Enter Shikari’s explosive, exhausting shows doesn’t fit.
Not exactly a foot-tapping affair.
Their latest ‘Stop the Clocks‘ tour is nearing the end of its extensive European leg, but from the energy emanating from the British foursome throughout tonight’s set, you wouldn’t know it. A decade has passed since second album Common Dreads landed on shelves (back when there genuinely were still records on shelves somewhere). As such, more time than usual in the 90-minute set is dedicated to this set of songs.
Its ‘The Sights’, the opener to most recent album The Spark that launches proceedings tonight though. The stage is set with large, lit-up cuboids, Rob Rolfe’s drumkit in the middle with frontman Rou Reynolds set up in front of a futuristic keyboard-control panel (a nod to the album’s artwork).
The set is weighted towards the more recent albums.
These well spoken, clean-cut lads from the counties proceed to make a noise that more than fills the cavernous interior of the sold-out venue. The set is weighted towards the more recent albums, but ‘Labyrinth’ makes an early appearance that gets the sweat glands of the Berlin crowd going. ‘Take My Country Back’ earns us the first ‘Fuck Brexit‘ shout of the night, the band having already announced themselves as ‘Enter Shikari – from Europe’.
You can’t help the feeling that Enter Shikari could have filled out a bigger venue than this. Their genre-jumping sound may be confusing to newcomers – historically their balance of UK electronica and pit-friendly hardcore has made sections of both scenes a little uncomfortable. But the music that results from this whirlpool of 90s rave references and thunderous metal riffs is as impressive as ever tonight.
The favourites are out in force, with ‘Step Up’, ‘Arguing With Thermometers’ and ‘Hectic’ whipping the packed-out room into a frenzy.
The favourites are out in force, with ‘Step Up’, ‘Arguing With Thermometers’ and ‘Hectic’ whipping the packed-out room into a frenzy. In between, time is set aside for the slower numbers, with ‘Gap In The Fence’ seeing Reynolds pop up at the back of the room with an acoustic guitar. Its not often you see a frontman equally comfortable with screamo vocals and falsetto ballads. At varying points Reynolds provides trumpet interludes, wheels on a piano for ‘Dear Future Historians…’, and all the while between shakes and grooves like someone spiked his water with essence of Mick Jagger.
‘Juggernaut’ and ‘System Meltdown’ crop up in the encore (which is probably where the whiplash came from). There are some notable absences (no time for ‘Sssnakepit’ or ‘OK, Time For Plan B’ tonight unfortunately), but Enter Shikari prove yet again that for consistency, creativity and core-shaking energy, there are still few in Europe doing better.