It’s been less than two years since Enter Shikari last graced the stage of Alexandra Palace, but they’re back again and this time they’ve brought Astroid Boys and Lower Than Atlantis along for the ride.
Due to the incredible amount of time that it took the venue to get us in, we missed opening act Astroid Boys but we were firmly in place for Lower Than Atlantis. With large logo’s and risers, the band are here to make a statement and the energy that exudes from the Watford based band shows that they could be next up to play a special arena-sized show themselves. Working hand-in-hand with the crowd, Mike Duce and co bound through as many songs as their support slot allows them to, including ‘Emily’ and closer ‘Here We Go’; which causes a huge sing-a-long. At times the vocals are a little quiet, but once the sound crew sort this out the set sounds massive.
Having already celebrated the Take To The Skies anniversary over Slamdunk earlier this year, and released their brand new album The Spark, it’s been a pretty busy year in Camp Shikari. As 2017 draws to a close, it seemed only fitting to do a tour of larger venue and arena shows to really show how much the band have grown.
At T-Minus 10 minutes until Enter Shikari take the stage, the production already starts enticing people into the main hall to ensure they don’t miss a single second of set time. There’s always a lot of effort that goes into a Shikari stage set up and tonight certainly showcased this, from the huge lighting rig to the massive circular screen hovering over Rob Rolfe’s drum riser. As we hit the 0 minute mark, the lights blackout and ‘The Spark’ begins to play as the band descend upon the stage. The band has certainly made an effort for the grandeur of their set, but we can’t stop staring at Rou Reynolds electrified hair for at least the first half a song.
Earlier this year Enter Shikari won the 2017 Heavy Music Awards: Best Live Band; an accolade they well and truly deserved and shown throughout every second of tonight’s show. We’ve come to know and love the band from their roots playing the St Albans Pioneer back in 2005/2006 and, although their sound has changed immensely, their attitude and passion certainly hasn’t. Through each and every song, Rou bounds around the stage showcasing his dancing; part drunken dad at a wedding and part hopped up friend in an Ibiza superclub.
The band smash their way through an energetic set throwing in old classics like ‘Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour’ alongside tracks from their latest album. The video backdrop changes for each track and section of the set with ‘Rabble Rouser’ producing an enlarged image of Rou’s face staring down at us. Partway through the set, they slowed things down with Rou popping along to a mini stage in the middle of the crowd; although it happened so quickly we hadn’t even noticed until he was there. A heartfelt rendition of ‘Airfield’ echoed around the arena followed by ‘Adieu’ which Rou plays on a grand piano. The whole room screams out “Home could be anywhere when I am holding you” in harmony and, if we hadn’t known any better, we’d swear that Rou’s eyes were just a little teared up.
As if Shikari hadn’t worked themselves hard enough, they take it another step further by playing four songs in eight minutes which all sit at 147 BPM; something we hadn’t quite realized before now. Starting off with ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ the claps echo through the palace like nothing else before carrying on with ‘Sssnakepit’, ‘…Meltdown’ and ‘Antwerpen’ before closing the main set with ‘Zzzonked’.
Enter Shikari have taken plenty of risks during their career, but absolutely everything from the perfectly positioned lights, the ever-changing production and their mass collection of hits prove beyond a doubt that they can headline arenas.