On a cold October’s evening on the rainy cobbled streets of Liverpool people were literally queuing around the block to get in to see Enter Shikari at the O2 Academy. I had always thought that this was simply a figure of speech until I turned up at the back of this gargantuan line.
This was the start of Shikari’s homecoming leg of their European tour and expectation was high: ‘Sssnakepit’ had only been getting airtime for a matter of weeks and already the line was a throng of people quoting and misquoting lyrics, only stopping to whoop and cheer when the line inched forwards. It’s true what they say, Shikari fans really do have that special kind of energy; I knew the set had big shoes to fill.
Unfortunately this shoes may as well have been the size of Jupiter for the opening band of the night, LetLive. An admittedly passionate group from California, I struggled to take to the music due to the lead singer ripping various articles of clothing off himself before elaborately staging a hanging with him own microphone lead and climbing into the light rigging. How the other members continued to play is beyond me, although I swear the guitarist and drummer shared a look of disdain as the singer fashioned his noose.
After a somewhat deflating opening salvo, we waited patiently, gradually reclaiming the famous Shikari voice and chanting requests around the small venue. These flames of fan-hood were fanned to an exceptional level by St. Albans hardcore punk setup Your Demise. The five piece practically melted the faces off the front five rows with a spine tingling fast tempo rendition of ‘Miles Away’ and the mosh pits that were so seldom seen during LetLive were rampant for the next 30-45 minutes. I have no idea exactly how long they played; I was having my face melted off at the time.
With our spirits considerably lifted and a growing sense of anticipation knowing that the next band to grace this stage would be the punk/electronica fusion maestros themselves –Enter Shikari. As soon as we heard the opening few bars all those hours of queuing and tolerating sub standard acts seemed like distant memories as the aforementioned shoes of the night were filled to bursting. Rou Reynolds set to doing what he does best immediately by screaming uplifting and goosebump inducing slogans at the crowd to a backdrop of bouncy techno and darkly distorted six string before launching straight into ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner’ to a reception that I can only describe as rapturous.
This was the tone of the night well and truly set as Shikari fused both old and new tracks to an equally adoring crowd with crowd surfs, mosh pits and even the hint of a stage dive. As we filtered out of the now sub tropical venue and back on to the wet cobbles below the sense of pure escapism sadly faded with the steam coming off our backs; but Shikari’s reputation as one of the best live bands in the country is well and truly safe.