Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015

Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015Enter Shikari + Feed The Rhino @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 18th February 2015

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‘Abusing music’s worthless genre boundaries since 2003’ Enter Shikari‘s self-claimed tag-line has never been so true; having just released their fourth full length album The Mindsweep, to, yet again, critical acclaim from across the alternative music scene. This is an album that sees the St Albans boys combine all the best traits from their previous releases into one powerhouse of an album. Tonight, they bring with them Feed The Rhino, a band whose 2014 was probably their biggest year so far, with the release of their fantastic album ‘ The Sorrow And The Sound’ as well as numerous tours and a Download appearance.

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By the time I get to the venue I had already missed the two openers, allusondrugs and Fatherson but luckily managed to catch all of Feed The Rhino‘s set. The room was already pretty much full as they kicked straight into ‘Behind The Pride’, showing off the kind of style and energy which has seen them quickly build up a loyal fan base.

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Frontman Lee Tobin is already topless and in the crowd before the song had even started, it’s certainly a case of starting as they mean to go on. The set leans heavily on ‘The Sorrow And The Sound’, with ‘New Wave’, ‘Deny and Offend’ and opener ‘Behind The Pride’ sounding absolutely fantastic. The bands energy never lets up during the short set and a lot of the focus is spent getting the crowd going, which they manage to do expertly. The Majority of the room is moving about and the rest are bobbing their heads along to the superb riffing, from brother Sam and James Colley. Despite the short set, Feed The Rhino have no doubt made some new fans tonight, their energy levels and superb live sound have warmed the crowd up a treat before Enter Shikari.

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Enter Shikari are a band that I have seen on numerous occasions now, they seem to get better every time. Another thing I’ve noticed is that their lighting set-up becomes ever more elaborate each tour, and as soon as the set begins I see they haven’t bucked the trend. Let’s just say, I feel sorry for an Enter Shikari fans that have photosensitive epilepsy. For all intents and purposes, the Civic is a complete sell out tonight and the room is already in raptures as soon as those into synths kick in, beginning with the opening track from ‘The Mindsweep’, ‘The Appeal And The Mindsweep I’.. I feel my body jolt as the whole room surges forward to get closer to the action; a huge circle pit opens up like a whirlpool of bodies. Frontman Rou Reynolds is already demonstrating the lyricism and metaphors that he has become known for, ‘Slacken your angst and decant your hate ‘Cos in the long run they’re about as useful as pouring acid onto your dinner plate’ sound even more powerful in a live setting than on record.

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The pure energy in the building never let up, on and off-stage I couldn’t see anyone who wasn’t moving.  It’s easy to see why this band have so often branded one of the best live bands over the last few years. Bands usually get this kind of title by both being so energetic and a willingness to get the crowd going or by being incredibly tight and sounding fantastic. Enter Shikari do both, with such brilliance that it’s hard not to admire. Drummer Rob Rolfe is so at ease playing to whatever music is going around him, be that metal, hardcore, drum and bass, dub-step or trance, that he plays with a permanent grin plastered across his face. Guitarist and bassist Rory Clewlow and Chris Batten (Rory C & Batty C as they are known) might not play the most complex riffs but they are both excellent vocalists in their own right, both providing the perfect tonic for Rou’s snarled aggressive style.

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The bands energy never lets up during the duration of the hour or so set, neither does their humour during songs. Humour which sees Rob trying his best to keep a straight face, Chris and Rory singing Lion King songs as well as Rou inciting a war cry while looking out over the crowd on the balcony, that he conveniently brought ladders to get up to. The set leans heavily on their newer material, with occasionally dipping into their first two albums, in the form of the ball-busting Mothership (including Motherstep intro) and Juggernauts, which sees the crowd sing along to a line famously shouted by Gandalf The Grey, ‘You shall not pass!’. There is notable omissions of ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’ and fan favourite ‘The Feast’, and while it is a shame that the fans don’t get these classics from the ES back catalogue. They have been replaced by new set staples, the incredibly danceable ‘Destabilise’, the dubstep tinged ‘Gandhi mate, Gandhi’ which includes the ridiculous but brilliant line ‘..Yabba Dabba Do One, Son!’

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Enter Shikari never fail to impress me, yet again they have blown me away. My earlier prediction of them getting better every show was proved right. They sounded tighter than ever tonight, and performed with more freedom than I had seen before. Every member looked like they wanted to have a good time and unless I’m mistaken, they were having just as good a time as everyone else. Despite saying they were more than just one way entertainment and more of a community, they were no doubt terrific entertainment tonight.

 

Review: Francis Sebestjanowicz

Photographs: Dave Musson

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