Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019

Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019Enter Shikari @ o2 Academy, 1 February 2019


What’s the best thing for a band to do between albums and tours? While this may be influenced by their position – i.e. they can’t actually afford to take an extended holiday and need to keep the wheels oiled and turning – it’s tremendously gratifying when almost anything happens during these in-between-y bits.

What’s even better though, is when a band turns the time between band history chapters into a chapter all of its own.

Far from being a batch of extra dates or a re-run of their original headlining tour in support of 2017’s acclaimed The Spark (which would’ve been a ton of fun anyway, amazing as those shows were), Enter Shikari made the admirable choice of deciding to play absolutely sodding everywhere, to the extent that they can probably be found in most places you look: glove compartment, biscuit tin, Frome.

Joking aside, the likes of Norwich, Leicester, Lincoln et al. have all had a look-in on this new run: places that don’t normally get one. Beginning in December 2018, the Stop the Clocks tour has been (and continues to be, at time of writing) a shining example of getting your grinning faces out in force in as many sweatboxes as possible.



Support for the tour is from Palaye Royale, our photographer loved them.

Given that the St. Albans dance-rock outfit could be found graduating to arenas last time round – including a soon-to-be-immortalised date at London’s Alexandra Palace – it’s all the more pleasantly surprising.

Kicking off with album opener The Sights, the four-piece (aided by adorable Star Wars droid-esque midi keyboard ‘Sparky’) set the pace for the night with enough energy to power the Walsall-illuminations-on-crack lightshow that backs them.

By the third number they’ve already referenced the current era, 10th-anniversary-celebrating Common Dreads and their debut, Take to the Skies: the crushing and anthemic Labyrinth makes most present feel rather old – in the best way possible – and throws an almighty bone to anyone wanting a golden oldie.

A pervading sense of grinning freedom and sheer fun is all over tonight, the theme very much being why-the-hell-not: Ghandi Mate, Ghandi mashes into oldie Mothership which in turn mutates into the dun-dun-dun-dun-dun bit that everyone knows from Insomnia by Faithless. It’s nothing short of fucking brilliant, and the floor may as well be a trampoline.

After two more Spark cuts, the tour’s namesake arrives in the shape of the unreleased Stop the Clocks – bearing all the hallmarks of modern Shikari, its rumoured release this year cannot come soon enough.

The ‘quickfire round’, a novel method of squishing the best bits of several songs together carried over from the original Spark tour, is also present. The deathless Sorry You’re Not a Winner leads into recent cut The Last Garrison, in turn morphing into …Meltdown, finishing with a remixed version of Anaesthetist. It’s a testament to Enter Shikari’s sheer tightness, polish and imagination that all four tracks segue so well – and with no drop in the audience’s attention or energy, just in time for singer Rou Reynolds to do a well-received solo Take My Country Back and a one-two punch of Juggernauts and new standard anthem Live Outside to finish proceedings.

So. If Enter Shikari is the answer, what is the question?

It’s “What’s the best band I can spend my money on in Britain today”.

You’d be hard pressed to find more energetic shows, presenting better music, played by a more deserving bunch of lads.

Reviewer: James Stokes
Photographer: Adriana Vasile

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