Being a 16+ show, the supports had been and gone by the time I arrived, shortly after 9pm. The crowd comprised mainly energetic young thangs hailing from some hinterland between hardcore and nu-rave......think mosh pits and glo-sticks......with the odd gnarled, veteran mosher in attendance to represent the old guard. Somewhere in the middle of this generational void, at least being British gave me something in common with many of the folks present.
Before even taking the stage, the band elicits a surge of anticipation with a countdown from the crowd: 10....9......8....etc etc, until the lights begin to flash neon green and they tear into Step Up.
A frantic lad pushes back into the quieter part of the crowd, clears himself a path, and proceeds to sprint at his mate's back, vaulting into the swirl of bodies that has quickly erupted in the centre of the room. It's been too long since I've witnessed such voluntary carnage and reminds me of the reason I should be attending more heavy stuff in a live setting.
Not being entirely familiar with the new material, other than the excellent lead-off single Juggernauts, it's immediately apparent how well it compares to the handful of outstanding tracks on Enter Shikari's debut LP, 'Take to the Skies'. Songs like Havok B and Antwerpen manage to deliver that urgent, dynamic sound clash present in earlier efforts, whilst also delivering a slice of melody and cohesion that sets them a level above. Nonetheless, the older school is more than successfully represented via the rapturous handclaps of Sorry, You're Not A Winner through to a crushing rendition of Labyrinth.
Late into the set, Rou and Rory descend into the crowd, causing immense confusion as three distinct areas of the floor draw focus from the stage. Rou mounts the small bar - largely unused, aside from myself, due to the vibrant youth of the crowd - and Rory shreds away from somewhere over by the merch stands. Fists are raised, pitting continues, and the energy level keeps climbing to reverential highs. Closing with their blistering eponymous track, sing alongs abound and grins as wide as Long Island spread from ear-to-ear.
During a night of highs, the only slight detraction for these ears was a set lacking Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour. This appears to be a regular choice from the band, however, and the plethora of choice new cuts more than compensates for any absent old friends.
With a venue at best two-thirds full and yet filled to the brim with such boundless energy, it's frightening to consider what Enter Shikari might achieve as their US fan base, if all goes to plan, continues to build. They have the songs, they have the stage presence, and if some smart-arse scientist can find a way to harness the power they whip up live, then they may just have the key to saving the planet. No pressure, like.
Enter Shikari continue their US tour in July, before returning home for festivals and a UK dates in October. Check dates out here and get yer arse to a show folks.
"I'm not saying that we could do better / But given the chance we'd try"
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