For 24 hours or so, there was a very real chance that Enter Shikari weren’t going to headline the Zippo Encore stage this evening.
Frontman Rou Reynolds was hospitalised before the weekend after suffering an adverse reaction to hay fever and sinusitis drugs, which resulted in the band cancelling a warm-up show in Bristol – their third gig cancellation in 12 years.
So, it feels like something of a heroes return when they arrive onstage dwarfed by a lighting rig which looks like it was taken from the set of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. As they launch into their set, there’s not a sign of fatigue when they kick into The Appeal & The Mindsweep I, all guns (and several lasers) blazing.
Draped in a long black raincoat and constantly tweaking his keyboards’ buttons, switches and keys, Reynolds looks like a mad scientist orchestrating the chaos around him. “This is music to confront and attack”, he says before Destabilize and the crowd waste no time in going completely ballistic to Shikari’s fine mixture of dub, metal and electronica.
They dip into their debut album Take To The Skies and ramp up the energy levels several notches with the classic Sorry You’re Not A Winner. It’s quickly followed by their 2014 single The Last Garrison and new single Torn Apart, which sounds huge tonight.
Mothership – another track from their 2007 debut – is an artillery of crushing dance beats and metalcore riffs and sounds incredible. It’s followed by spirited run-throughs of There’s A Price On Your Head and Slipshod, before closing with the pro-NHS anthem Anaesthetist.
While KISS provide the nostalgia and retina-frying theatrics over on the main stage, Enter Shikari have overcame the odds to solidify their reputation as one of the most vital live acts in the UK. Tonight feels like a unanimous victory.