By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)
Parties are good. The theatre is good. Enter Shikari are good. So, as you might well imagine, combining those three things on a pleasant Saturday evening in the beautiful surroundings of Kingston, London, would be a good idea, right? Yes, you’re very right, as Hertfordshire rabble rousers, Enter Shikari took to the stage of the Rose Theatre to celebrate the birth of their new album, The Spark.
Life is all about seizing opportunities and making the best of them. For instance, frontman Rou Reynolds has used his talents to pen thoughtful, emotional and hard hitting lyrics for well over ten years now. He also took the opportunity of playing in a theatre, and appeared on stage via the trap door. And as I’m allowed to speak freely in these, I think the gig had peaked there. From front to back, it was an amazing, energetic and vibrant gig, but Rou Reynolds appearing from a trap door like the hardcore Houdini he is was amazing.
However, what followed didn’t exactly take the gig downhill, as both the band and the crowd burst into the anthemic “oh-woah-oh-oh-oh”s of the star-exploding Redshift, causing The Rose to be rattled in a way it had never been rattled before. It was towards the end of a song that a conspiracy was unearthed. Just as the emotional, hands in the air ending was about to hit, the song stopped. Rou cursed God, as he had not allowed them to get through at least one song, but shortly after, bassman Chris Batten revealed that it was his fault that the song went skewiff. Which leads me to ask; is Batty C God? Though biased as the bassman myself, I bow at his altar.
God apologised for his mistake and the song came to an uproarious end, as it always does. As a side note, the kit the boys were using, with Rory, Rob and God using instruments in the same colour scheme as The Spark. Not only were they on form, they were on brand.
Whilst this was an occasion to celebrate the birth of their new album, it was also important to remind everyone where they’d been, with The Last Garrison tearing the roof off of the theatre, which is just as well, because that was a schweaty concert. The inclusion of this song was quite apt as well, being as one of the lyrics is “Let’s toast to the fact we’ve got this far”, because The Rose is probably the smallest venue they’ll occupy for a long time, as arenas are the only venues that can contain the aggression and the energy of Enter Shikari anymore.
Despite having only 24-ish hours to study the supporting material, the crowd were prepared & ready for tunes from The Spark, with both Take My Country Back and Undercover Agents already providing hands-in-the-air, sing-until-you’re-hoarse choruses and anthemic sound. The venue was small, but the sound was huge. And as another side note, fuck the guys down in the pit who shouted “Spark is shit”, because a) fuck you, it’s a good album, b) saying that is like going to someone’s birthday party and calling them a cunt, c) because that’s like, your opinion man. It’s obviously a ropey situation when a band releases nothing but good albums to pick your favourite, but shut the fuck up, yeah? It’s a good album, I won’t be reviewing it, so I’m not gonna go to deep, but it’s a cracker of an album.
As part of a buffet of Spark tunes, Rabble Rouser, deliberately or not, was written purely to be played by Enter Shikari at Enter Shikari shows. At this point I should mention that I was in the seating area, violently shaking my body, considering throwing myself off the bannister to get stuck into the pit. That good, lads. Obviously, there should have been more tunes from The Spark, but I imagine it would have been a nightmare trying to rehearse them to the point of perfection, so I won’t mark them down for that.
Rabble Rouser merely blew the trumpet to herald the start of the rowdy part of the show, as Labyrinth, Antwerpen, fucking Antwerpen, oh my God they played Antwerpen and Hoodwinker turned the gig up to 11, so up to 11 that Rou tore a hole in the crotch of his trousers. We all chanted for him to take them off. He didn’t. Sad!
But the rowdy chants to get Rou to remove his trousers were indicative of the night. It was a very jovial atmosphere, with the band being able to laugh and joke on stage, with the crowd brimming with energy. Whilst yes, it was sonically orgasmic and brimming with energy, the overriding feeling was that it was a fun gig. Just a really enjoyable Saturday night.
Torn Apart was followed by Constellations from A Flash Flood of Colour, and oh my, it’s been a while! Rou, bless his torn trousers seemed a bit lost at points, but fortunately, he had the constellations (and a theatre full of Shikari faithful) to guide him. All he needs is a flash suit and some fancy footwork, we’ll handle the singing part, no drama.
Closing the set, Live Outside managed to squeeze out what little voice the crowd had, with Anaesthetist draining the crowd of energy and leaving them punch drunk. A short set, yes, but that doesn’t matter at all, because the quality made you forget all about the quantity. A perfect gig from start to finish.
That Redshift mistake’ll cost you though, boys.