Thursday, 26 February 2015

Enter Shikari @ The Cambridge Corn Exchange - 24/02/2015

The opening act on the nights bill was FatherSon, who spent most of their set sounding something halfway between the pop-punk melodies FalloutBoy and the prog-alternative rocking of Biffy Clyro, but without the impact of either. They were very static, focused to the point of disconnected, and the vocals kept on dropping out as the singer didn't appear to know to keep his mouth near the mic. It was, to begin with, disappointing. Then they got to their last two numbers and started to come alive, with some really heartfelt stuff that if they could fill their set with would really get people swaying.

Allusondrugs were up next and they kicked into some high-grade shouty fast sleaze rock. It had edge, it had swagger, it had a front-man that was confident enough to take the piss out of himself and still look cool. It also had a very dangerous singer-on-guitarists-shoulders moment, which just added to the schoolyard charm of the whole set. They are playing the Portland Arms soon, and I think they will be worth a look in.

If it takes a brave singer to dive into the audience it must take an utter lunatic to start the set in it, and Feed The Rhino have such a singer. The lunatic factor isn't hindered by him looking like a slightly younger Alan Moore, nor in the amount of conviction that he and the whole band put into their doomy metalcore assault. To say the crowd blew up was an understatement, arms and legs went everywhere and there was even the first wall-of-death I've seen at The Corn Exchange. But there were also some more touching moments, such as when they turned off all the lights and had the audience illuminate the band purely via their phone lights. A very good blend of soft and hard, occasional quiet and mostly loud. Definitely one to watch, as they should be going places very, very soon.

Speaking of phone's it was curiously satisfying to see so many of them with broken screens, because if you're going to bring a couple hundred quids worth of tech into a pit then it's likely to get broken. It was also deeply satisfying to see a really diverse crowd having turned up: gender, race, clothing style, everyone was represented in equal measure. Okay, so it was a bit weird when people started chanting Oasis's 'Wonderwall' between sets but these things happen and everyone was a generally friendly lot: all there to see Enter Shikari do their thing.

After five minutes of amusing tape intro, which had people singing along to soul classics and shouting along to various minutes warnings, Enter Shikari finally took to the stage and began to play one of the best live sets I've seen. Bravely they took the bulk of the material from their latest album, with only a couple of their previous classics making the list. This shows a commitment to their material that you just don't expect from a band four albums into their career, however the audience reaction to material that's only been out for a couple of months shows that it pays off. Everything was fresh, everything was exciting, and everyone was loving it. As ever they performed with a warmth, genuine appreciation for their audience, and sense of fun which turned the whole thing into such a pleasant environment for people to let steam off in a friendly high-energy environment. It was also nice to have such a 'message band' not give any speeches or grand announcements, letting everything come through from the songs and the lyrics. Even the more fancy staging didn't get in the way of the music doing it's thing, everything managing to be impressive but simple and none distracting. Hopefully it won't take me another seven years to get to see them live again, because I don't know how much longer they can keep being one of the best live acts going.

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