“Warning! This escalates quickly!”
I have to be honest: My expectations for this gig were really low. Because ever since I got into Enter Shikari around 2011/2012, I enjoyed their gigs a little less and less whenever I saw them, as they tended to get lost in remixes and long interludes instead of keeping the energy high throughout the show. (No offense here, just a matter of taste.) I’m not the biggest fan of the new album The Spark either, although it’s not bad. I almost considered not going to this show, but I did… and HOLY SHIT it turned out to be the best Shikari show ever, or at least on a level with 2012!
But let’s begin in the beginning. The Mehr! Theater is a relatively new venue built into an old hypermarket hall. You can enjoy good shows with great sound there (like I did recently with Kasabian, for example), but only if you 1.) survive queuing in strong icey wind and 2.) make it through their complicated entrance routine (which is truly a nightmare for every barrier junkie…). I don’t know how I survived the cold, but at least I knew the regulations already from previous visits and was prepared. On a side note, I have to point out that the die-hard Enter Shikari fans that queued with me for hours were a bunch of very nice and relaxed people, which made everything much more bearable!
The first act, a hip hop group called Astroid Boys, didn’t do much for me, but then I was blown away by the second band, Lower Than Atlantis. I had never heard their music before, but they sounded amazing! Great songs of straight forward alternative rock that made us jump up and down on every second song! Considering my expectations for Enter Shikari, I was left convinced that I had already seen the highlight of the night. (I was even a little bit disappointed when I checked out their latest album Safe In Sound on Spotify afterwards, because the sound is not as raw and noisy as the live show. Still digging it!)
However, I was wrong about the highlight of the night, because Enter Shikari topped everything! They did exactly what I had loved so much about them in the past and what I had missed more recently: Firing out song after song and pushing the crowd to the max! No matter if it was the trance core of the early days, dubstep with Arguing With Thermometers, the electro rock of the new songs or hip hop with Rabble Rouser – the band sounded amazing, very heavy but perfectly balanced, and naturally the crowd was crazy! “Still air in my lungs, still blood in my veins”? At some point I wasn’t so sure anymore… being pressed against the barrier is normal, but when security dropped one of the many crowdsurfers on my back, I was almost sure I had broken something (but I think I haven’t, I was only in pain for one or two days after the concert. Normal.). It was almost a relief when they gave us a break in the middle of the set, when Rou Reynolds played Airfield and Adieu on a piano at the back of the pit. Such a beautiful moment! Maybe Enter Shikari can break your ribs, but they can give you goosebumps too!
And they didn’t only sound good, they looked good too! In front of some nice video visuals, the guys danced across the stage, maybe not as wild as in the past (everybody grows up, you know?), but still reflecting the energy of the music and the crowd. Especially Rou looked super dapper in his suit along with the crazy shaggy hairstyle he’s sporting nowadys.
So what can I say – faith in Enter Shikari restored! Changing your sound and risking to disappoint parts of your fanbase is a difficult thing for any band, but with this show Enter Shikari have proved that it’s possible to embrace progress without leaving the things behind that made you who you are. All in all, it was a fantastic concert that makes me very much look forward to future tours!