Words & pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe
The last time I saw Enter Shikari, I was young, drunk (sorry mum) and throwing myself around a circle pit in Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse. Since then I like to think I’ve grown up a bit, but their politically charged music is something I’ve never managed to get out of my head. So when I heard they’d be playing in Arena Birmingham, I knew there was no way I could afford to miss it.
First up was Newport born and bred Astroid Boys. I’m kicking myself for not seeing these guys earlier on the local circuit as they were absolutely brilliant. Their mashup of grime and punk music looks awful on paper and yet these guys manage to pull it off flawlessly in real life.
Tracks such as ‘Foreigners’ off their latest album, Broke, had the crowd bouncing and dancing along like it was no one’s business. Their sound is fresh and exciting – like nothing I’ve heard of late. These guys are sure to go far and securing a tour supporting Enter Shikari is just the beginning of it.
Next, was Lower than Atlantis. Ignore everything you read about these guys delivering lackluster shows, because they were on fire this evening.
Mike Duce’s responsibilities are taken up with rhythm guitar and vocals, so granted he may not be the most energetic front man but their set was polished to perfection. Varied enough to give the crowd a taste of their newer material from their most recent album, Safe In Sound, but still delivering on the older material that fans fell in love with such as ‘Here We Go’ and ‘English Kids in America’.
And finally, Enter Shikari. Although I knew how much they had invested in the visual aspect of the show nothing could have prepared me for the theatrical lengths they had gone to. A large screen flickered above the stage, displaying a flight radar that synced with a quadraphonic sound system which surrounded the room. The sound of low flying aircraft echoed around Arena Birmingham to a buzzing telegram explaining a mission to the crowd. The atmosphere was intoxicating, with the build up causing furor amongst the audience.
Bursting on to the title track of their latest album, The Spark, Enter Shikari proceeded to deliver what I consider to be the best show I’ve seen this year. Their energy was dazzling, with every band member cavorting across the stage to a mass of strobe lighting and smoke. Tracks such as ‘Undercover Agents’ were announced by Rou hitting them into a typewriter which was projected onto the large screen above.
Enter Shikari’s theatrical capabilities knew no bounds for the evening, with every single song being an individual show in itself. And my God, did the crowd love it… From the frenzy inducing tracks such as ‘The Last Garrison’ to Rou’s distilled and heartbreaking rendition of ‘Airfield’, the Arena Birmingham audience could be heard (and seen) screaming along to every verse and chorus.
It’s always an odd experience watching a band who mean so much to a group of people. Settling myself on the balcony, I took a moment to watch the crowd – it was unlike anything I’d seen before. They were not reaching out to grab the band members, they were holding their friends hands and singing and dancing in groups.
It’s refreshing to see a band with such politically charged music also mean so much to a group of people. I never wanted this show to end. Enter Shikari, I salute you. You’ve blown me away, yet again.
Enter Shikari @ Arena Birmingham 24.11.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more on Enter Shikari, visit www.entershikari.com
Lower the Atlantis – supporting Enter Shikari @ Arena Birmingham 24.11.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more on Lower the Atlantis, visit www.lowerthanatlantis.co
Astroid Boys – supporting Enter Shikari @ Arena Birmingham 24.11.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more on Astroid Boys, visit www.astroid-boys.com
For more from Arena Birmingham, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.arenabham.co.uk
For more from DHP Family, including all national tours and venues, visit www.dhpfamily.com