It’s the night before the release of Enter Shikari’s career-best album, ‘The Mindsweep’. So, with only a handful of UK performances to their name in the past six months, you could expect some backstage nerves or a little ring rust on the St. Albans quartet today. This thought, however, is knocked through the wall like King Kong on a wrecking ball as the band’s opening 25-minute salvo could best be described as ‘rude’.
Newbie The Appeal & The Mindsweep I opens tonight’s show and sets the scene nicely enough. It’s followed by the hyper-arcade pummel of The Paddington Frisk and instigates venue-wide pandemonium for Destabilise and a version of Radiate so mental, Rou Reynolds ends up in the crowd (complete with mic stand) to strum the song’s delicate outro.
Reynolds’ wide-eyed lunacy is thoroughly infectious. Plus, his gregarious, larger-than-life persona is enough to make you forgive the fact that he’s started dressing like a GCSE Geography supply teacher. Jacket and shirt aside, he’s a frontman in bloom, and incredibly, he’s still improving.
Constant evolution and improvement is a running theme of tonight’s show. Even though the band have classics like Juggernauts and Arguing With Thermometers in their arsenal, it’s the new material from The Mindsweep that steals the show. The Last Garrison gives us goosebumps when its ‘thank fuck you’re still alive’ refrain is bellowed by the entire crowd. It kicks like a mule in steel toecaps. Myopia somehow sounds even more mammoth than its recorded counterpart, while The Anaesthetist is not of this world. We can also confirm that a whole venue of people shouting the song’s hook, ‘you fucking spanner’ is a lot of fun. When they’re armed with an incredible new record and at the top of their game, 2015 feels like Enter Shikari’s year.
The encore itself is testament to the brilliance of this evening. Constellations is shimmering and brilliant, Slipshod is armageddon and Mothership throws more hooks than a boxing fisherman. You have to feel for the venue staff, as the theatre which is halfway through a production of Romeo And Juliet has just been totalled. Forsooth.
If tonight’s gig is anything to go by, Enter Shikari’s upcoming tour is not only must-see, it’s can’t-miss. Beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket.
**Enter Shikari – Live at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-Upon-Thames, January 18, 2015 **Photos: Will Ireland