By: Alan Ewart

Enter Shikari | website | facebook |   

Support: Feed The Rhino | website

Pyramids Centre, Portsmouth | February 16, 2015

Enter Shikari are currently on the UK leg of their tour in support of their new album “Mindsweep.”  It is probably a comment on the bands growing stature that they were supported by no fewer than three excellent bands in the form of FatherSon, AllUsOnDrugs and Feed The Rhino.

Given that Enter Shikari played pretty high on last years Reading & Leeds Festival main stage it was refreshing to be able to see them in Portsmouth relatively small 1500 capacity Pyramids venue.  Bizarrely this was actually my first visit to the Pyramids, it certainly won’t be my last.  The acoustics are great, sight lines are fantastic and increasingly rarely the security staff were both helpful and friendly.  It all made for a great atmosphere and a truly superb evenings entertainment.

I must admit, I did draw a few funny looks from the fans at the gig as I was probably the only over 50-year-old in the venue. I never fail to be amused by youngsters who think that you can’t appreciate a great band because you are a bit (well ok a lot) older than them.  Guess what kids, my generation invented this kind of music, I was there first time around, I might not have the energy to mosh to the same extent you do and I am certainly past crowd surfing but I still love good music.

First up on the evening was Glasgow based Indie Rockers Fatherson who have been making quite a stir on the Scottish music scene.  Their seven song set consisted largely of tracks from their debut Album “I Am An Island,” together with a couple of tracks from previous EP’s.  As you might expect from a band supporting Enter Shikari, Fatherson delivered an dynamic and energetic set but it is not all in the wall of sound with these guys.  There is a beautiful melodic undertone in tracks like “Hometown” and “I Like Not Knowing.”  Front-man and vocalist Ross Leighton is an engaging presence.  Having already received airplay on Radio 1 and played at festivals like T-in the-park I think we will be hearing a lot more from Fatherson.

Yorkshire Alt-rock band AllUsOnDrugs were next up again with a seven track set.  AllUsOnDrugs are arguably a little more difficult to categorise so I am not going to try.  Again the energy was there in abundance, as they played through their set.  I was particularly struck by the opening track “Stir” and recent single “Am I Weird.”  I found AllUsOnDrugs to be one of those bands that you instantly know you are going to love.  The high-energy five piece are fronted by Jason Moules who came on stage fronting a Joy Division shirt.  Quite a statement but actually he carried it off and easily.  Jason has a look of Kurt Cobain, the mannerisms of Ian Curtis and the energy of Jim Morrison all rolled into one package.  The music may embrace a range of styles but it is always intense, engaging and entertaining, this is music that makes you feel something.  This is music that is sometimes dark and menacing but it is strangely uplifting too.  I can’t wait to see these guys again.

Feed The Rhino can only be described as a hardcore tour-de-force.  From the moment the tattoo covered shirtless front man Lee Tobin hit the stage we were dragged screaming and kicking through a performance that was dynamic, gut wrenching and brutal in its intensity.  This is hardcore punk infused rock delivered with an intense aggression rarely seen in the era of bland pop.  Tobin reminded me in many ways of LetLive’s Jason Butler.  Tobin was no sooner on stage than he was up on the barriers and into the crowd as he whipped the audience into a seething sweating frenzy.  It was brilliant stuff as they worked their way through five songs from the most recent album “The Sorrow And The Sound” supported by a couple of tracks from “The Burning Sons.”

Of course all of this was leading to the main event and the sold out audience was absolutely pumped – by the time Enter Shikari hit the stage at 9:30 the tension in the crowd was palpable.  It may have been a Monday night but these guys had come to party hard.  Rou Reynolds and the rest of the band came onstage in a wall of sound and blinding lights.  They opened with “The Appeal & the Mindsweep I”  the opening track of the new album “Mindsweep” and for the next 90 minutes they blasted their way through a set of 17 songs drawing from their entire back catalogue as they went.  We had six songs from “MindSweep” and crowd favourites such as “Destabilise” and “Ghandi Mate, Ghandi,” “Radiate” and “The Paddington Frisk” all made an appearance.  Reynolds sent a speaker into the crowd and much to the delight of the iPhone wielding crowd performed a full song standing on top of it in the middle of the packed crowd.  The set closed out with Anaesthetist before the band returned with a three song encore “Dear Future Historians” which had Reynolds plying an upright piano, “Slipshod” and finally “Sssnakepit.

It was a fantastic closure to a brilliant nights entertainment and anyone who left the arena less than dripping wet and exhausted really ought to stay at home.  It is worth mentioning the lighting technician at this gig, because Enter Shikari’s performance is very visual.  The lighting was tremendous and the technician worked his ass off ensuring it was perfect.  Sadly whilst it is an incredible spectacle for the audience it does make photography incredibly difficult and as a result my photographs are not all that I hoped for.  I hope you enjoy them nonetheless.

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