Phil Moore reviews Enter Shikari at the Roadmender in Northampton
Normally a band that play the UK’s arenas, St Albans’ massively successful Enter Shikari have with their Stop The Clocks tour taken the different approach.
Namely, playing 28 shows across the country - including relatively snug venues like the Roadmender.
They really didn’t need to do such a lengthy run, so they’ve already earned a lot of respect for just the concept.
The band are a byword for following one’s muse - or moving with the times, depending on your level of cynicism.
Their combination of punk-rock and hardcore with various elements of electronic music - drum and bass, techno and trance mainly - has been brave, bold and sometimes a bit barmy.
It’s clearly paid off in the long-term though - as 13 years on from their debut single they are bigger than ever.
Before Shikari, two supports of varying quality took to the stage.
Brighton’s Black Peaks played a powerful half hour set, full of the intensity displayed on their second album of last year, All That Divides.
Engaging with the crowd and appreciative of the support, they have a more than decent future.
2019 could be the year their melodic mathcore breaks out into the wider world.
Palaye Royale meanwhile can be summed up succinctly as dreadful.
Any band from Las Vegas which describes itself as a ‘fashion art-rock band’ you suspect are going to struggle to leave much of an impression.
The songs were bashed out at a thousand miles an hour, the singer pouted and screamed and they dressed like a cross between the New York Dolls and The Strokes.
Yet the music was mindless, lowest-level copycat rock’n’roll.
They’re the sort of band you’d expect to see in the background of a cheesy movie - what a 60-year-old producer believes is what ‘da kidz’ like.
Following that misstep, Enter Shikari were even more anticipated by those packed inside the Roadmender’s main room.
Impeccably dressed and with a haircut that, like their music, defies gravity, singer Rou Reynolds threw himself into the performance like he’s still the 17-year-old with big dreams.
As did his bandmates, who of course have the chops of seasoned veterans by now.
The set meandered through the best of latest album Sparks, weighed in with seven from socially-conscious second album Common Dreads and included the ‘best of the rest’.
Labyrinth was greeted with the first mosh, from that ‘proper’ metalcore debut album Take To The Skies.
A Midlands crowd of mostly metallers seemed to react best when the synths workouts were put aside and the noise was turned up to 11 - see also Arguing With Thermometers and their classic second single Sorry You’re Not A Winner.
There was some jeopardy over Monday’s show, with the tour evidently taking its toll on Reynolds. “We should run bets on when I lose my voice tonight,” he casually joked a handful of songs in.
“I knew I should have had a fourth Lemsip. Three was not enough”.
Fortunately, he kept it up all through to the end - a nod to his true passion and energy for his art.
If there were any doubters before their performance, they surely were won over with the 90-minute tour-de-force.
Space-age techno-core is the future and it still shines bright for our intrepid heroes, who fought and won their battle in Shoe Town.
Enter Shikari played:
Arguing With Thermometers
Gap in the Fence
The Paddington Frisk
The Revolt of the Atoms
Gandhi Mate, Gandhi
No Sleep Tonight
Stop the Clocks
Sorry, You're Not a Winner
The Last Garrison
* Visit www.entershikari.com for future tour dates