In support of their most recent album The Spark, Enter Shikari embarked on a European arena tour bringing along Lower Than Atlantis and Astroid Boys. An unusual line up, due to the fact all three bands belong to different genres, but a tour I was very excited to experience…
I was initially dubious about the opening band, Astroid Boys, as I didn’t feel that their blend of rap, rock and grime would fit in with the rest of the bill. However, I was proved wrong. They took to the stage full of energy and enthusiasm, which soon warmed up the crowd and was the perfect start to the night. They played songs from old EPs and their recently released debut album, Broke. 'Foreigners' was a highlight of the set seeing the first mosh pit of the night breaking out, which suits the aggressive lyrics of this track. I always think the mosh pits starting in the opening band are a sure sign that you’re part of a good crowd, and its destined to be an excellent night…
Lower Than Atlantis, a big name in the UK rock scene themselves, were perhaps the more obvious choice of support and provided a slightly calmer setlist. They exclusively played songs from their latest two albums which was a little disappointing for me as a long-time fan who was hoping for some older tracks too. Nevertheless, this was still a very enjoyable set, with the crowd enjoying the more sing-a-long nature of LTA’s songs. However, this isn’t to say the crowd were standing still, in fact from it - there was an excellent circle pit in 'Work For It', and lots of jumping in the various other tracks. This culminated in the band declaring Newcastle to be their best date of the tour thus far!
Frontman Rou Reynolds is perhaps the most energetic, enthusiastic frontman from any band
The half hour gap between the bands felt considerably shorter, due to Enter Shikari providing a ten minute countdown to the start of their set, themed around a rocket launch in keeping with the advertising campaign they’ve used for the release of The Spark. This also gave the band ample opportunity to show off the quadrophonic sound system they are using on this tour.
The band took to the stage to the instrumental opener of The Spark album, before morphing into “The Sights”, as the album does which was an exciting start to the set. This was followed by 'Solidarity', an older offering which set the tone for the rest of the set: the setlist contained a mixture of old and new songs, ensuring there was something for fans of all Enter Shikari eras.
It was easy to see how the band have progressed to arena tours. Frontman Rou Reynolds is perhaps the most energetic, enthusiastic frontman from any band – he was constantly running about the stage and dancing around in between his stints on ‘The Machine’ and on guitar. Rob provided entertainment between songs from behind his drumkit, guitarist Rory C had a chant go up in his honour (with bass player Chris completing the band).
The standout part of this tour was definitely the production. The band had obviously really considered the aesthetic of the show with the background visuals being particular noteworthy; beautiful space imagery was displayed on a moving screen for some songs, whilst other sounds featured videos in time to the songs.
Unfortunately, the band did suffer an electronics malfunction which led to them restarting 'Undercover Agents', however fans laughed with the band and everyone seemed appreciative of getting to listen to half of the song again (especially me, as this is possibly my favourite song on the new album).
The crowd were clearly loving the show; there was a moshpit for every song and it was clear that a slower track was needed as a chance to recover. Rou and drummer Rob performed two slower songs from the back of the crowd on piano and xylophone, which was a nice change of pace and further highlighted the versatility of the band (and the seemingly endless list of Rou’s talents). During these songs, several moshpit participants took the opportunity to search for their lost shoes, starting up chants (although these were greeted with limited success).
A euphoric, uplifting end to the night and an obvious choice to finish the set on
After this brief change of pace, the band launched into the ‘quickfire’ section of the set: an eight minute long performance of four songs, all at 170bpm (i.e. fast). It started with the decade-old fan favourite ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner’ which was easily the most well received song of the night, with the entire crowd joining in with its iconic clapping. This then morphed into 'Sssnakepit' followed by '…Meltdown', both from 2012’s A Flash Flood of Colour. Finally, the section finished with 'Antwerpen', another older track from Common Dreads (2009). This mash up of songs from across their albums showcased the extent of their discography, and was popular with fans demonstrated by the large number of crowdsurfers. This was also a tour exclusive, unavailable for download, which made it feel more special. I’d love to see more bands embracing this idea and bringing a new take to their songs whilst on the road.
The main set culminated in 'Zzzonked', which was appropriate with its lyrics declaring “Mate! I'm zonked absolutely spent,” which has never been more true than the end of that twenty song setlist.
The band left the stage to raucous applause, which quickly turned into the encore chant. The band then returned to perform 'Redshift' and 'Live Outside' which was noticeable absent from the main set. This was a euphoric, uplifting end to the night and an obvious choice to finish the set on, as lead single from The Spark. The band left the stage to The Spark’s instrumental closer 'The Embers', which provided perfect symmetry to the set and allowed the band time to all take a bow and receive their well deserved applause.
3 bands. 36 songs. Numerous crowdsurfers. Endless moshpits. A few lost shoes. Countless bruises. What more could you possibly want from a rock concert?