Alexandra Palace, a ten thousand capacity venue in the heart of London which a little band called
Enter Shikari managed to fill. After the huge success of The Mindsweep, and then The Mindsweep
Hospitalised, its no surprise that this show was going to be their biggest and best one ever.
After arriving at the venue only 10 minutes before doors opened we pretty much just walked inside
with no queueing needed. Due to the venues ridiculous size and layout we still managed to walk right into the crowd where all the action would happen. When the first band Arcane Roots came on
there still wasn’t a huge crowd but this band still managed to warm up everyone that was already
there. The last song really got everyone jumping and very excited for the next band.
The next band on, The King Blues, are a band that had only recently got back together after taking
a short break. The room filled up a lot more for this band as there were a lot of fans there for them
that night as it hasn't been long since they reformed the group. The King Blues are a band that a
friend had shown me, but I never really got into, and wow was that a mistake. They smashed their
set completely playing mainly old favourites. They opened with a huge crowd favourite, playing
Let’s Hang The Landlord coupled with the singer almost instantly jumping into the crowd, really
started off their set amazingly. The Crowd went instantly insane and all fans of The King Blues
pushed themselves to the front to join the singer. Over the next couple of songs Jonny Fox
whipped out his ukulele and somehow made it punk, which was insane to watch. I had never seen
Ukulele used in punk music before. I knew this wasn't going to be a normal gig, but I didn't realise
until then just how mad it would be. Just before The Streets Are Ours, Jonny made an inspiring
speech about his hatred for politics and how no one has to right to dictate our lives, something
everyone in the crowd agreed with as they cheered him on and cheered into the song. Towards the
end of the song all the members put their instruments down and picked up cowbells, hitting them
as the part of the song told them to do it, making the crowd get more and more excited about the
strange stuff going on onstage. After a little more time they then ended with Save The World Get
The Girl, another obvious crowd favourite judging by the amount of people already singing along
loudly, Once again to end the set as amazingly as it started Jonny jumped back into the crowd and
one the set crowd surfing along singing with the crowd. He then ran off stage calling out “We’ve
been the King Blues. Peace and Love”. I couldn't have found two better words to describe that
Next up were a band that I knew very well, The Wonder Years. The opener from their latest album
No Closer To Heaven, Brothers &, played as the band prepared to run onto the stage. The crowd
sang along with the line being repeated throughout the short opener. While it was playing the band
ran onto the stage and started Cardinals, the song that leads on from their opener. No Closer to
Heaven is one of the most emotional albums I have ever heard, and it was even more emotional
hearing thousands of people sing the words along with the band. When they had finished the song,
singer Dan Campbell, stood staring at the crowd with a huge smile on his face. He said “I never
wear my glasses on stage because they always fall off as I’m jumping around and I step on them
and they break, but today is different. I need to be able to see this, I need to be able to see ten
thousand people singing along with me.” and it was then that we all realised just how huge this
show was going to be. The rest of the set kicked off. They played a few older songs mixed with
their new ones but no matter what they played everyone knew the words and everyone knew how
to act. While I was standing on the edge of a pit during their set, I watched my friend in there and
while he was in there I saw him jumping around with a complete stranger shouting the lyrics to
each other. That is my favourite things about music, that it brings people together, no matter who
they are, no matter why they’re there, and I think thats amazing. The band then ended with some
classics, Local Man Ruins Everything and Came Out Swinging, which had a completely different
feel to playing their new stuff. These songs are lot more upbeat pop punk and you could feel in it
the crowds reaction. Everyone was off their feet during those two songs, bigger pits were opened
and everyone was involved. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful set.
Now it was time for Shikari to start their huge 21 song set. They had a count down going
throughout the wait and as soon as it announced to get ready the band were about to start, the
crowd simultaneously burst out into a chant of “and still we will be here, standing like statues” while
we waited for the band to start. Once their introduction had started the band finally come out onto
the stage to see their huge crowd.
When you see Enter Shiakri you don’t just get to watch an amazing band playing their amazing
music, you also get to watch a performance. Shikari are known for being able to put on an amazing
show, and this was no exception. When the music started, so did an insane light show to go along
with it. So amazing you don't know what to watch, the band or the lights. For this show they also
had a huge screen behind them, having interesting animations going on throughout the whole set.
They kicked off the set with Enter Shikari, and then went straight into Solidarity. Starting off with old
songs was a real treat for the crowd as everyone knew these songs all too well, the crowd went
wild instantly and screamed along with frontman, Rou and he rocked out on the stage in front of us.
Next up was one of Shikaris most famous songs, Sorry You’re Not a Winner. The entire crowd
knew it instantly as soon as the first note sounded. You could feel the happiness radiate from the
band as ten thousand people clapped and sang along.
Rou then announced that they were about to perform a song they had never performed on any tour
before, The One True Colour. The crowd cheered and went crazy as the song started and
everyone began screaming the lyrics out. This had been the strongest start to a set I had ever
seen and it was only about to get better from there.
As soon as the intro to The Last Garrison started the entire crowd went crazy for it. Being one of
the most popular songs off Shikari’s latest album, every single person in the crowd knew every
single word and sang it out as loud as they could. Towards the end of the song they started to
slowly mash it up with No Sleep Tonight until they could go into performing only No Sleep Tonight.
It was a really creative and interesting way of moving through their set.
“We’re now entering the rowdy part of the set” Rou shouted just before the stage lit up again, the
crowd screamed as the beginning to Slipshod started. As if playing the song wasn’t enough they
also had parts of the animated music video playing behind them as they performed.
After a couple more older songs to really make the crowd go wild, Rou disappeared from the stage
and suddenly popped up right in the centre of the crowd on a smaller stage sitting at a piano. He
began to play Dear Future Historians, one from their latest album and probably the most calm song
the band have ever released. Rou played this song himself in front of us, he began with the piano,
playing and singing along with the crowd. He then got up stood on top of the piano, picked up his
guitar and played the next part of the song, where it picks up up a little, with the rest of the band
who were still on the main stage. If that wasn’t impressive enough, right at the end of the song, he
picked up a trumpet and played the ending into the microphone in front of him. It was a beautiful
song, played beautifully by the man who wrote it made even better by the thousands of people
singing along to every word.
Rou then sat back at the piano and split the crowd in half for the next song. “Not for a wall of death”
he said, “Cause that shits lame”. He allocated each half different lines from the song and made the
crowd sing the beginning Juggernauts for him right there before he joined in to sing the rest. It’s
tough to get that many people to participate but Rou really knew how to please the crowd and get
them to join in with everything he does.
Back onto the main stage and Ghandi Mate, Ghandi began. They skipped the introduction and
went straight into the heart of the song. When the song stops and Ghandi was mentioned, an
animation of Ghandi came walking in on the screen behind them. He introduced himself and told
everyone in the crowd to “be calm like Robbie Williams” before walking off again. “Be like Robbie
Williams? Okay.” Rou replied to it and the band began to play his famous song Angels. In all my
life I have never seen ten thousand metal fans go from screaming out a song, to singing a classic
pop song, and back again, and I know I never will again. It was a hilarious yet beautiful moment
when the whole crowd joined in singing Robbie Williams with a band like Enter Shikari. I will never
forget being a part of it and I don't think I ever want to.
Shikari then ended their main set with Mothership. An older song the entire crowd knew very well
and all shouted the lyrics out to. It was a great end to their main set as big pits opened, everyone
knew the show was coming to an end so gave it their all throughout this song.
After the band had disappeared from the stage, the crowd went back into passionately chanting
“and still we will be here, standing like statues” as everyone was having such an awesome time, no
one wanted to admit that this show was nearly over. The band then appeared back on stage while
one of their interludes played on the screen behind them. Their latest single, Redshift, kicked off
the encore in a huge way. Despite being a brand new song, and being very different to their other
stuff, it was a huge hit and really set off the crowd, preparing them for the insane encore they were
about to get.
The band had been teasing this song throughout the entire set, by showing bits of the music video
on the screen and playing short sound clips between songs, but it was finally time. It was finally
time for Anaesthetist. They built up and built up to this song and of course, it didn’t disappoint.
Being one of the last songs coupled with one of the most popular, the crowds reaction was insane.
I had never seen as many pits opened at once before. I had never heard so many voices before.
Towards the end of the song it was then remixed with the hospitalised version of the song giving it
a whole new feel.
The Appeal and the Mindsweep II, the final song of the whole show, and what an amazing ending it
was. Ending the show the same way they ended their latest album was a really nice touch.
Especially as the song has parts of older songs mashed up with it throughout. The crowd used the
final song so have their final pits and final sing-alongs of the night. It really ended the set on the
high as it began.
This had been the biggest and best show Shikari had ever done. They all had no idea it would lead
up to this when they started out. They even addressed this on stage. “This shouldn’t happen, a
band like us shouldn’t be able to fill a venue like this” Rou said amazed by the crowd. “This really is
a hobby that got out of hand.” He even discussed the fact that they are an independent band and
their music isn’t exactly easy to listen to, it has pretty specific taste, all these put together mean
that they shouldn’t be this big, but they are. Every single second of this gig was an amazing
experience, something you will never get to see at any other show. If you ever get a chance to see
this band live just do it. No one can put on a show like Shikari. I have complete faith that this band
are going to be the next to headline festivals and the biggest venues worldwide. They’ve exceeded
all expectations set for them so far and will definitely do it for the rest. I don’t know about you, but I
wouldn’t miss it.
Written by Hannah Smith
Photography by Alexey Makhov (Instagram: @Mad_Photo)
Alexey Makhov was Enter Shikari's tourphotographer for their huge UK run.
You can find more of his shots, among other great pics at Enter Shikari's official Instagram: @Entershikariofficial
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