Going into a gig with high expectations can be dangerous, but tonight, as Enter Shikari played to a packed out room of adoring fans in Bournemouth’s International Centre, they went above and beyond and proved themselves to be one of the best live bands around at the moment.
Hackney boys The King Blues were the perfect opening act. Vocalist Jonny Fox spits out his punchy, intelligent lyrics in a way that instantly draws the crowd in, making it simply impossible to not enjoy their performance. After encouraging the crowd to “get fucking mortal”, he whips out a ukulele and launches into My Boulder – possibly the most friendly punk song ever written. And the sweetness doesn’t stop there, with Jonny expressing his desire for one “beautiful unified notion of people who believe in a better world”, signing out with a simple peace and love before and the stage up to The Wonder Years.
Immediately setting a completely different vibe, The Wonder Years creep onto the dramatically lit stage and open with ‘Brothers &’, building the crowd up before launching into ‘Cardinals’. The Philadelphia boys fill the room with irresistible pop punk hooks, with vocalist Dan Campbell giving everything he has to his faultless performance. The pop punk five piece kept every fan in the room happy with a setlist comprised of songs from their new album, ‘No Closer to Heaven’, their previous album, ‘The Greatest Generation’ and even a few tracks from their 2011 album ‘Suburbia…’.
With 4 studio albums spanning almost a decade under their belt, Hertfordshire boys Enter Shikari have had plenty of time to perfect their unique sound and their incredible live performance. From the second they burst onto the stage, following an intense spoken introduction and light show, they are completely captivating, holding the attention of every single person in the room. And believe me when I tell you that attention did not waver. Vocalist Rou Reynolds immediately threw himself into the crowd, later announcing it resulted in him losing a shirt button and some pretty vital pieces of his microphone. When someone in the crowd piped up and returned said microphone accessory to Rou, he leaped off the stage to give him a kiss. This was just the first hint of Rou’s genuine, humble and damn right lovely personality.
As if the first ten minutes of Enter Shikari’s set weren’t impressive enough, as soon as ‘The One True Colour’ kicked in, so did the incredible impressive screen they had snuck in behind them. That was just the beginning. Throughout the entire show, the screen was filled with projections (edited and tweaked daily with precise attention to detail by the boys themselves) that moved perfectly with every single beat of every single song. From simple shapes to intricate projections of the universe, these visuals – coupled with the equally impressive light show – were the most perfect back drop to the nights antics.
Making their way through a impeccable setlist of tracks from every one of their albums, Enter Shikari keep proving their right to be doing their first arena tour, entertaining the crowd almost effortlessly. Shortly after a few members of crew sneak a piano on top of the sound desk, Rou appears. He sits down, plays ‘Dear Future Historians’, and stuns the crowd. Once again we are reminded that not only an incredible performer and a pretty awesome dancer, he is also a stunningly talented songwriter, vocalist and musician. It’s not long before the rest of the band burst back into life on the stage, and Rou gets up on top of the piano to finish ‘Juggernauts’, guitar in hand and mic stand balancing precariously on the edge of the piano. And to top it all of, there’s a trumpet. He is playing a trumping, standing on top of a piano, on top of a sound desk. Now that is showmanship.
Other highlights of the night include a cheeky little cover of Robbie William’s ‘Angels’ in the middle of ‘Ghandi Mate, Ghandi’ and the set ending with – of course – Mothership, before an even more energetic encore, which inspires the biggest mosh pit of the night, giving the fans one last chance to go a little crazy.
Not only did Enter Shikari deliver a night of flawless musicianship and high energy performance, they delivered it alongside a group of projections that worked so perfectly with their tracks you sometimes didn’t even realise you had been completely sucked into it. Tonight was a feast for both the eyes and the ears, and while I’m not sure exactly how Enter Shikari will ever top this, I have no doubt that they will.
Review by Megan Smith (@megansmith405)