Enter Shikari end the UK leg of their tour with a spectacular show at North London’s iconic venue, Alexandra Palace. Standing high on the hill, this beautiful building overlooks the best panoramic views of London, so just queuing up outside already gives you quite an experience. Their new album The Spark has been causing quite a stir and we’ve been eager to hear these tracks live. These guys are known for putting on a lively performance and this one seemed like it was going to be even bigger and better than before.
First support of the night was Astroid Boys, a five piece hip-hop and grime group from Cardiff, Wales. Opening with their new single “Cheque,” these guys put on an energetic set as the room started to fill with eager fans.
Lower Than Atlantis were next to take to the stage. With several big performances over the summer, this Watford bunch are quite a popular band over here in the UK. Throwing out hit after hit, the crowd were loving it as they sang along.
With 10 minutes still to go until Enter Shikari are scheduled to hit the stage, the lights dim and an excited cheer fills the room as I make my way into the photo pit. A voice echoes over the speakers as a Mission Control countdown begins; this seems strange at first but it fits nicely with the space theme from the new album The Spark. This is the same venue that Enter Shikari played on their last tour back in February 2016, so what was going to make this show stand out from the last one? Gravity defying Quadraphonic Audio, that’s what. With two speakers at the front and two at the back, this was designed to bring you the full surround sound experience, and what a difference it made.
The room was suddenly filled with aerodynamic sounds and the crowd were looking up around them, not quite sure what was going on. The anticipation in the air was intense, my eyes were fixed on the crowd watching them soak up the experience. The countdown gets to one and “The Spark” blasts out of the speakers as the band hits the stage. For a few seconds I turned around to face the crowd and all I could see were triangles in the air (If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s when Enter Shikari fans make an upside-down triangle symbol with their two thumbs and index fingers). I turned back to the stage to see Rory displaying the same thing as he stood and embraced the crowd. Continuing with the space theme, a large circular led disc hovers above the stage displaying a radar image as they slam into “The Sights.” Next up, they take it back to Common Dreads as they explode into “Solidarity.” The vibrations shake the room as the rowdy crowd become a blur of color. We hear another blast from the past as “Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour” sends the room into a roar. My time is now up in the photo pit so I make my way into the buzzing crowd. I find myself a quieter spot near the back of the venue so I can take in all the sights and sounds in front of me.
Returning to the new album, they then jump into “Take My Country Back.” After the song, Rou takes a moment to joke with the crowd. He points out a guy holding up a shoe and suggests some sort of shoe cult is forming, which is a little funny as last time I was here for Enter Shikari, I did actually lose a shoe! They then dive back in with “The Last Garrison” erupting from the speakers. With the additional two speakers at the back, the beats travel around the room giving you a totally different experience from a normal live performance. The show is now on full throttle as the lights are dancing off stage into a sea of moving bodies. They then kick into “Radiate” followed by “Undercover Agents.” The circle disc above the stage now illuminates into the moon as they play “Arguing with Thermometers.”
Next up was the song I’d been waiting for, “Rabble Rouser.” Since hearing it on the album I was excited to hear how this would perform live. I wasn’t disappointed. With Rou’s face plastered over the screens, he commences his rap verses and it send the crowd into a dancing frenzy. It’s an awesome song and it sounds huge live. Suddenly the spot lights turn to the middle of the room and the crowd’s eyes follow. I’m not sure how he got there but Rou appears in front of a piano on a raised platform by the sound desk. The crowd are given a brief time out as he starts an emotional performance to “Airfield.” Leaving Rory and Chris to hold the stage, Rob joins Rou’s side and impressively creates an explosion of percussion as the crowd watches in awe. After an intense first half to the set, this gives the room a chance to restore some energy. With Rou still behind the piano, they then go on to play “Adieu.” This is one of my favorite songs and I find it quite emotional to hear it played live; it’s one of those moments when you forget about everything else and just fixate yourself on song. The track starts to speed up and more beats kick in, it then merges into routron 500 remix and this throws the room back into a rave.
Rou and Rob make their way back to the stage and they then fly into “Anaesthetist.” The stage is full of energy that’s radiating across the room. Keeping the flow of energy going, they then head into the ‘quick fire round.’ 4 songs in 8 minutes at 174 beats per minute, you know this is going to get crazy. “Sorry, You’re Not A Winner” is up first, and the crowd waits patiently for that moment to clap along before turning into a blur of dancing bodies. This electricity is kept flowing as they pound into “Sssnakepit” and “…Meltdown” before ending with “Antwerpen.” After that intensity, I’m surprised Enter Shikari have any energy left but they seem to find some from somewhere as they turn the room into a vibrating chamber with “Zzzonked.”
The stage plunges into darkness as the band exits. After just a few seconds of rest, the crowd start to chant for Enter Shikari to return. Rob eventually makes his way back out and uses the opportunity to say thank you to everyone in the room before a few emotional words to the rest of his band mates. By this time everyone is back on stage and are ready to continue with the show, Rou’s voice travels across the room as they throw themselves back in with “Redshift.” The night then ends with the vibrant track “Live Outside.”
With a set list bursting with huge old and new tracks, this was an incredible and memorable performance from Enter Shikari. They now head into mainland Europe to continue their mission.