This Enter Shikari article was written by Luke Priestley, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
It was a cold quiet February Tuesday night in Cardiff and the Motorpoint Arena opened it’s doors at 6. Hoards of gig goers flocked in for a show many of them had been anticipating for months. The excitement building, a buzz in the air as 7pm ticked closer and closer.The lights dimmed bringing the 3 quarters filled hall to a standstill.
One of the huge appeals of this tour was not just the headline act Enter Shikari who themselves are incredible, but the quality of the bands supporting them. Most excitingly The King Blues, who were returning for the first time on tour after ‘splitting up’ four years ago. Itch and the band had been tearing up political punk rock since about 2004 with numerous LP’s reflecting Itch’s objection to politics and also his personal struggles. When the band split in 2012 it sent shock waves through the world of punk rock and a lot of people were sad to see them go.
Understandably, the crowd were excited to see them back. Having released an EP ‘Off With Their Heads’ not much longer than a week before, not only was it a chance to see a band which everyone thought had run their course, but to hear some of their new material for the first time. Itch and the gang did not dissapoint, getting the crowd going with a set of old favourites, a call to protest against Cardiff Arms Fair and a brilliant rendition of their new single ‘Off With Their Heads’. They were everything that was expected of them and more, so good in fact that they had the room calling for an encore.
However The King Blues had to give way for another incredible support act. All the way from the US the next support band were The Wonder Years, bring their brand of sad pop punk to Cardiff. Opening with ‘Cardinals’ and ‘& Brothers’; two songs that start off their latest album in an anthemic and hair raising fashion, they then led into a set filled with songs from every album. Fan favourite ‘Passing Through A Screen Door’ went down a treat with fans and new comers a like. Those unaware of The Wonder Years before the night soon became familiar with their tried and tested pop punk formula, and as the set went on more and more people in the hall were getting into the music, with mosh pits opening up left, right and centre.
As support acts go, Enter Shikari, or indeed their management, did a fantastic job in organising such great opening bands. With the crowd thoroughly warmed up and already sweating, The Wonder Years ended their set and the crowd waited in anticipation as behind a huge black curtain you could see lights flashing through, drum kits testing, the crowd knew there was something big was to be revealed. As the clock ticked round to 9pm there was a countdown in a deep synthesized voice; the lights then dimming.
The most impressive thing about Shikari is their creativity. The genre which they fit into is a combination of electronic, metal, post hardcore and the remnants of rap metal, something not unheard of, but something they achieve with brilliance on record and in a live environment.
As if that wasn’t enough, Rou and the boys extend their creativity to live shows. As the band has progressed up the musical ladder, it’s become easier for them to express themselves with extravagant shows with stunning lighting rigs and incredible sound and boy were the crowd at The Motorpoint Arena treated to a show.
The curtain dropped revealing drummer Rob Rolfe’s elevated stand and the band’s logo suspended in metal from the rafters. Launching into the set with old favourite ‘Enter Shikari,’ it took very little time for the crowd to rile up and become raucous, chanting back at the band “and still we will be here, standing like statues”. Shikari created an atmosphere that made hairs stand on end, smashing through a set covering their entire discography, from studio albums new and old and one of singles, no one was left disappointed.
However, the most impressive thing about Enter Shikari was their inventiveness. With easy transitions mixing one track into the other, Rou’s improvised vocals at the end of ‘Radiate’ and a spontaneous rendition of ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams they had the crowd captivated, and in the palm of their hand throughout the show. As a band they do so much more than perform songs, they create a show; a spectacle. A tactic that is slowly propelling them away from being an act on their way to the top to one that is already there.