Friday, November 02, 2007

chofnoda shikari

The world is divided into two groups - those that have seen Enter Shikari live and those that haven't.

We joined the important group on Wednesday. Hallowe'en, Samhain, the most important night in the Pagan calendar. And we crossed over the bridge to Wales to see them.

I've seen loads of groups. From Geordie through The Police and UB40, New Order, Pulp, Mumm-Ra, Plan B - 30+ years of fun and excitement (and crap). But Shikari topped them all. The energy put out and returned in the 100 minutes they were playing was like nothing I've ever seen before. Their music is the savage but beautiful child of Rachmaninov powered by the beats of a Stewart Copeland on industrial strength Metformin and presided over by a cool and literate clone of Jools Holland. And latching on to the energy of the best club night you've ever been to.

The scary thing was that we were by far and away the oldest people there - in fact we seemed a good ten to fifteen years older than the PARENTS that were waiting outside to pick up their kids from the show. What's that about? Why weren't there hordes of people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s there? They need energising like everybody else, possibly more so. Some of the kids couldn't handle the terminal moshing down at the front, and were being dragged out every few minutes.

Shikari's trick is that they blend the most monstrous vocals (sometimes) with the most elaborate music, then switch to Rou's 'listen Mum, I CAN sing' voice that beats Boyzone and Westlife at their own game. This switching, from the ridiculous to the sublime, creates the most powerful breaks that send the crowd wild. The songs are driven by powerful drums, bass and guitar, multi-layer Rachmaninov-style complexity coupled with some of the most clever hooks around. These are real songs and the whole band are natural performers, there's no irony or posing here.

Well, there is, but it's smart! Like turning up dressed as the Furies from the brilliant 70s classic film The Warriors, complete with face paint and baseball bats, or slipping in 'Insomnia' just when the crowd were at their most perceptive (and didn't they do it well!!), or giving us 3 minutes of formless and gut-mashing drum 'n' bass before the brilliant encore of 'Sorry You're Not a Winner' and 'OK, Time for Plan B' (cleverly referencing both one of the best films and best acts of our time!)

Loved it. Lads, you're welcome to visit Hartcliffe at any time!!
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