“AND STILL WE WILL BE HERE, STANDING LIKE STATUES” chants the crowd, just minutes after main support, The Wonder Years, finish, acting as a reminder to everyone that this isn’t just any show at the Victoria Warehouse: it’s an Enter Shikari show. Being part of a hyped up crowd is a pretty special one, and being part of a hyped up Shikari crowd is even more special because you know exactly what to expect – manic responses that never repent. And within seconds, that presumption is met with a chaotic reaction that is completely off the charts.
When the second track in is ‘Sorry You’re Not (A Winner)’, it’s clear that night is going to be full of forgotten Shikari classics to remind you just how much the four-piece deserve to be playing venues of this size. “We’re going to take you on a journey tonight,” announces front-man Rou Reynolds off the back of ‘The One True Colour’. No matter what journey this night takes, it will ultimately follow the same path that Shikari have trodden down for the past 13 years; a path of unity. ‘Sorry You’re Not (A Winner)’ consists of the usual pyramid building, invoking momentary disbelief that a band can command a crowd of strangers to work in such a way. Skipping from their first album to their most recent in a heartbeat, the same levels of insanity are kept both from the crowd and the band as they mix ‘The Last Garrison’ with the chorus of the intrepid ‘No Sleep Tonight’, proving that there is nothing that this band can’t do.
Not only are Shikari on top form reeling out absolute bangers and creating a whirlwind in the crowd, the whole stage show is incredible. Rather than relying solely on their tracks to carry them through the night, everything from the lighting to the breathtaking backdrops has been given such strong attention to detail to make for a wonderful spectacle to behold. Without all this, the night would’ve still been amazing, but adding all of these extra features makes it a truly unbelievable experience that catapults them into arena-worthy tours and major festival headline slots.
Back onto the music and mid-way through it gets cranked up to 11 with ‘Slipshod’ and ‘Jester’ making an appearance. “This is where it gets nasty, ” states Rou before unleashing ‘Slipshod’ – a statement which seems unlikely given the carnage already caused, yet true to Shikari fashion, Rou has the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands, and the crowd gives the animalistic response asked for. As quickly as this destruction is created, it is switched to a lighters-in-the-air moment as Rou begins a beautiful piano play of ‘Dear Future Historians’ and ‘Juggernauts’, before launching into the staple ‘Ghandi Mate, Ghandi.’
Its hard to put into words what Shikari do live, they are a real unique live experience… there’s a reason they’ve won so many ‘Best Live Act’ awards. The whole show tonight is consistent, thrilling, and punk. At this gig, you feel a part of something, as if you can take on the world and nothing can break you down. It’s a truly indescribable, euphoric feeling: it’s like being on every single drug at the same time, without any of the nasty side affects. And as mighty you feel, getting back on a train and seeing a grown man sob his heart out for some awful unknown feeling, it reminds you that these moments and these experiences are once in a lifetime. But if you stick with music – if you stand your ground – if you stick with Shikari, you won’t ever lose that feeling of unity and belonging.