Support from Black Peaks and Palaye Royale
Review and Pictures : Vikki Luff
Those who are already familiar with Enter Shikari will know that this band is more than capable of filling stages the size of arenas and main stages at festivals. Their explosive energy will fill any room right to the corners, so you’d think it must be pretty crazy to have all of that compacted into a venue with less than 1000 people inside, right? The crowd certainly hoped so as everyone expectantly filed into Cambridge Junction.
Opening that night were Brighton based rockers Black Peaks. If there’s ever a lesson to be learned about not judging a book by its cover, it can be learned from these guys. At first glance, Black Peaks look like a band that your weird uncle has put together in a garage during his midlife crisis. Oh, how wrong you would be to dismiss them on that. When the music kicks in and vocalist Will Gardner opens his mouth, you’re instantly blown away by a mix of rage, riffs and raw passion. Black Peaks have an impressively intense stage presence, encouraging the crowd to move and mosh with them without even having to ask, which is quite a rarity these days.
Although it took a bit of time for people to get into their style, the band didn’t give up. As they closed the set with The Midnight Sun, a catchy tune with interjections of pop punk, there was a notable shift in energy from the crowd and it’s safe to say that Black Peaks won them over. I think they made an exceptionally fitting warm up act for Shikari and the majority of the crowd certainly seemed to agree, being suitably warmed up by the end of their set.
Black Peaks Setlist: Glass Built Castles, Electric Fires, Can’t Sleep, Eternal Light, The Midnight Sun
Thankfully, as the band launched into Mr. Doctor Man, something changed in the crowd and suddenly everyone was off their feet. Perhaps a recognisable song was what the crowd needed or perhaps the hardcore Palaye Royale fans forcibly lifted the entire crowd off the floor, but either way it made for a good end to the set.
The opening bars to The Spark filled the air, and the previously mellow crowd instantly erupted, seemingly having saved enough energy through the supports to go absolutely insane throughout the entirety of Enter Shikari’s set. Kicking off with a blend of old and new material, Shikari put just as much effort into older songs as they did with those from their latest album and the crowd gave that effort back in spades. If there were any doubters left in the crowd, it’s safe to say that those doubts were firmly dismissed as the Hertfordshire boys began the intensely catchy Rabble Rouser. I’m not sure there are suitable words to describe the crowd’s reaction to this, it was as if everyone suddenly connected on the same wavelength and bounced about en masse, creating one huge pulsating wave of bodies.
I’m sure some of this can be attributed to vocalist Rou Reynolds’ incredible stage antics rubbing off on the crowd. There’s no other singer that moves quite like Rou does, busting out moves somewhere between the “wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man” and the robot, and absolutely owning every second of it. Shikari continued their set with a selection of songs off their now decade old album, Common Dreads, an album which has truly stood the test of time and is still relevant enough to sound like it was written yesterday. Looking at the amount of the crowdsurfers that appeared even in songs as chilled out as Gap in the Fence, it’s safe to say the feeling was mutual throughout the venue.
Palaye Royale Setlist: Don’t Feel Quite Right, You’ll Be Fine, Wasted, Masochist, Fucking with My Head, Mr. Doctor Man, How Do You Do?
It’s no secret that Enter Shikari like experimenting with a few musical styles in their work, so the excellent cover of Faithless’ Insomnia that followed should have come as no surprise, and yet as it blended into Havoc B, the already riled up fans took it up another notch and the entire floor of Cambridge Junction became one giant pit. No corner was safe! One thing I did not expect from this show was an entirely silent crowd, but the melancholy tones of Airfield had an almost sedative effect on everybody in the room.
There’s something special about a few thousand people singing back the inspirational lines of “you’re down on your luck, you’re down but that don’t mean you’re out”, and there were doubtless tears in the eyes of some people at the end of it all. Ramping up the energy once more, Shikari introduced their trademark Quickfire Round in which they blend together four of their best-known songs in 8 minutes, culminating this time in the healthcare themed Anaesthetist before exiting the stage. The floor thundered from feet stamping, the sound of roars and claps reached a deafening climax and the five lads happily bobbed back onto stage for their encore, including multiple blasts from the most powerful confetti cannon I’ve ever seen.
If you’re a bit of a “cup of tea and slippers” sort of person, perhaps an Enter Shikari show isn’t the one for you, but if you want to be vicariously entertained, be showered in equal parts of sweat and confetti and sing your heart out, these guys are an absolute must see. I’m no stranger to extravagant live music shows, all the way up to 3D projections at stadiums, but this band has never failed to entertain me, filling spaces all the way from small box venues to festival stages, and I can’t wait to see where they go with their future live ventures.
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- The Spark (intro)
- The Sights
- Step Up
- Arguing with Thermometers
- Rabble Rouser
- Gap in the Fence
- The Revolt of the Atoms
- Gandhi Mate, Gandhi
- Insomnia (Faithless cover)
- Havoc B
- Undercover Agents
- No Sleep Tonight
- Stop the Clocks
- Sorry, You’re Not A Winner
- The Last Garrison
- Live Outside
- The Embers (outro)