ENTER SHIKARI | LIVE REVIEW
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Fri 17 Nov
Having graduated to headline arena shows in 2016, Enter Shikari returned to the Motorpoint with a distinguished new album and an eclectic bill of supports. The announcement of an early curfew pushed the schedule an hour ahead, where Cardiff’s Astroid Boys began the night with a debut arena appearance in their hometown. With minimal production for their opening slot, AB let their nu-metal-doused-with-grime tracks such as Dirt and Cheque speak for themselves. Benji and Traxx’s stage patter suggested an unbreakable stance, albeit one which couldn’t help but be broken at times with streaks of humility. As the arena started to fill out, UK rock favourites Lower Than Atlantis supported second with alt-pop anthems Work For It and Here We Go.
As the lights dimmed with a radar illuminating the stage, the Shikari countdown had begun. The band joined the stage unified in their smart attire, and from the outset it was clear that Enter Shikari have progressed not only musically but in their stage presence. Starting the set with new material The Sights, ES swiftly moved into older territory, Solidarity taking the riotous frenzy into Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour.
On a production level, Enter Shikari brought quadraphonic sound that left no corner stagnant with a relentless light display. Shikari have always been recognised for their hectic performances, as seen with Last Garrison and Arguing With Thermometers – however, it has be to noted that they’ve entered a new stage of organised anarchism, the setlist delivering balance that was arguably lacking in previous years. Not only have the band matured thematically but front man Rou Reynolds has reached a new level of being able to truly engage yet destroy crowds simultaneously.
Moving to a secondary stage in the centre of the Motorpoint, Reynolds and drummer Rob Rolfe brought poignant passion to the set with Airfield and Take To The Skies classic Adieu. As they re-joined as a four-piece on the main stage, the sound of heartbeats introduced Anaesthetist to the claps of Sorry You’re Not A Winner. Up to this point, Shikari’s performance had been furiously kinetic, but as they moved into the quickfire portion of the set, the crowd and band alike reached a new level of animalistic energy with the drum and bass injection of Sssnakepit (Hamilton Remix) sprinting into Meltdown and Antwerpen.
With the short stop of an encore, anthemic renditions of Radiate and Live Outside rounded up a sweat-filled, cathartic evening. What makes a Shikari live show far outgrows the raucous energy and unpredictability, but the pivotal union made between the fans and band that is truly communal.
words FFION RIORDAN-JONES photos AMY FARRER