Enter Shikari has been billed as many things over the years – rock, alternative rock, hardcore, post-hardcore, experimental rock – but after catching them on the Take To The Skies 10th anniversary tour, they’re definitely more “hardcore” than ever, and that’s really what they’ve been doing best for the last 18 years. So it was on a Thursday night that the British were coming – sans Paul Revere – to take over NYC’s Irving Plaza and assault our ears with 17 epic tunes, 12 from the aforementioned Take To The Skies, and a couple hours worth of Brit hardcore.
Lead singer/keyboard dude Rou Reynolds likes to take his music to the crowd and invaded my workspace a few times, which is always cool but would have made for better photos if Irving Plaza had paid its electric bill. Yes, I know lighting is up to the band, but I feel like the venue was unusually dark even for a band like Enter Shikari. But I digress and should probably get back to the show, which was awesome, and began with fans chanting the lyrics to what would end up being the show’s opener – Stand Your Ground; This Is Ancient Land – before the band ever took the stage.
It’s always a blast seeing dedicated fans, and Enter Shikari certainly has them in droves. Not so much fun is being kicked in the head by crowd surfers, but it’s a hazard of the job I signed up for and I’ll live with it for a high energy show. Playing 12 songs off Take To The Skies makes enjoying the show easier, since I knew most every song on offer and got into the whole thing pretty quickly. At the same time, though, not hearing a few of my favorites was slightly disappointing.
Overall, I can live with missing out on the handful of tracks I wanted to hear live, because at the end of the day, what matters is the performance and Enter Shikari has perfected their brand of on-stage – and in-crowd – antics over nearly two decades and leave little to be desired from a hardcore show. There’s only so much you can do in their genre, and it seems like when every band is doing the same thing – playing in pure darkness and jumping around with the same boring hair whips and growls, Enter Shikari manages to stand out by being different and actually engaging – quite literally – the fans.
All that really matters here is that Enter Shikari kicks ass, whether they’re playing Take To The Skies almost exclusively or running through their catalog. It’s a show worth catching, and for a band that made its name in the UK, they certainly have a cult following here in the States. One that makes an Enter Shikari show that much more rewarding, but maybe that’s just a personal thing. I’m not the biggest hardcore fan, but I love Enter Shikari and for my first experience at their show, it’s a clear winner and I’ll definitely need to see them again and again.
Photo gallery below, set list after that.
Stand Your Ground; This Is Ancient Land
Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour…
Sorry, You’re Not a Winner
Today Won’t Go Down in History
Return to Energiser
OK, Time for Plan B
The Appeal & the Mindsweep II