Manchester is still recovering. It’s day 2 of Enter Shikari’s welcomed return to Manchester and The Ritz is still shaking at the foundations from the previous night. It may be cold inside, but things about to heat up inside.
First up are Engine-Earz, who perform live electronic music through various genres such as drum & bass through to ethnically spurred Indian themed music. With a live set up including a guitarist and drummer, along with two vocals of both quality and contrasting styles, and a live DJ, you can see why they’re on this bill to show ES fans the extent of their music taste. Not many people here will get it, but it’s more about the crowd learning that this type of thing exists, and plenty do seem to enjoy it.
Cancer Bats are no strangers to tearing a room apart so join the bill under Enter Shikari as the yin to their yan. Storming through their set with highlights of the biggest circle pit of the night as quite a few of the crowd are more than familiar with the Bats’ absolute stonkers. ‘Lucifer’s Rock Chair’ gets the grooves poundin’ whilst a brief introduction by frontman Liam before their cover of the Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ has everyone joining in, with quite a few surprise smiles from those who haven’t annihilated by the Canadian mob before. It all feels a bit our of place though. Sure, they’re not headline and they do command the crowd pretty well, but bands like Cancer Bats are made for intimate venues in which you can taste the sweat of one another. Still, final serenade ‘Hail Destroyer’ has and always will be an absolute raging monster of a track with a lot of the room chanting “CHILDREN OF NOTHING THIS IS OUR SONG”. Crikey. (3.5/5)
Before tonights headliners even gallantly take to the stage we’re greeted by a voiceover announcer who, well, announces that “the show will begin in 10 minutes” and carries on through a DJ mix, interrupting between songs to remind us how long is left. He mentions getting refreshments and such, reminding me of those old school cinema adds with the talking popcorn and drinks. It’s such a simple idea but works SO well and really gets the crowd pumping. That and it makes sure the band actually come out on time.
‘A Flash Flood Of Colour’ openers ‘System…’ and ’…Meltdown’ enlighten the crowd as to what the night will ensue; chaos. Absolute chaos from everyone in the stalls (I, however, am perched safely on the balcony with a lovely little view over said chaos, like some demonic higher being enjoying the mashing of bodies, sweat and probably blood somewhere) Some slight timing mishaps with the electronics and again, mishaps with junk breaking is quickly brushed over; once the juggernaut that is Enter Shikari starts there isn’t much stopping them.
Well, they do slow down a bit, literally. A matrix-esque slo-mo section mid ‘Antwerpen’ is a prime example of how much these gents really do think about their live show and performance. These theatrics are always welcomed in my book and certainly work well in larger venues like this. The whole room is yelling back at the stage as ‘Antwerpen’ hits those “NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA” (I think I got the right amount there?) Darting back to newer material with ‘Ghandi Mate, Ghandi’ as again, the crowd loses for the electronic drop and then again as the mosh takes over; “Yabba dabba do one son” has never sounded so good.
Those theatrics make a return, tying in that beginning voiceover announcement as the lush video screens have taken a break from the stunning visuals to read “INTERMISSION” mid way through old schooler ‘Labyrinth’. The band are joined onstage by a suited and booted gentleman who serves them ‘Sssnakepit’, their own brand of beer (you can read more about it here) and leap back into finishing the old school song. It’s this “cheekiness” that I really enjoy about Enter Shikari and will always have me going back to each tour. Telling jokes, general dancing and even a sneaky little ‘Gangnam Style’ move (I definitely saw that Rou) are all a part of this band and brings so much character to the show.
The encore of the night starts with ‘Contellations’ which is a surprise but it sounds so good to hear it live. The glocks really bring an atmospheric air to the room and the two mini kits brought on stage create such a massive sound when played along for such a triumphant ending. However, the band finally end with ‘Zzzonked’ where everyone has an absolute ball dancing or moshing or whatever it is you do to such a hectic song.
I love Enter Shikari’s live shows. I always have and I’m pretty sure I always will. They put so much into it that it really is a pleasure to watch. Onwards and upwards gents, thanks for the evening of entertainment. (4.5/5)
Words by Mikey Brown (@MikeyMiracle)