It’s freezing cold, windy, and rainy, but that doesn’t deter a huge queue of patiently waiting fans from lining up down Oxford Street in Central Manchester. The venue for tonight’s adventure into music was a sold out Manchester Academy 1. The reason? The Mindsweep Tour presented by St Alban’s finest, Enter Shikari had made it’s way into town and we were there to see what all the fuss was about.
To open the show were Glaswegian Indie Rock group, Fatherson. As the crowd trickled into the venue, the band opened up with a beautiful array of calm melodies, soft rock style sounds, heavily reminiscent of bands like Deaf Havana and Twin Atlantic (which is by no means a bad thing). Fatherson seemed like the kind of band you could easily put on in the background and chill out too, very relaxed and chilled songs, some with a bit more bite than others. Overall, a strong start to the evening.
Next up are Allusondrugs. This band walk out on stage quite leisurely, take their positions across the stage and kind of stay there for the duration of the set. That doesn’t mean they weren’t anything but energetic – giving it their all and going crazy in their own little places across the stage (especially the bassist, who seemed to be consumed in his own little world on Mars), they rocked out to heavy groove patterns and riffs the band had to offer. Their fuzzy, grunge sound captivates the audience, seeing them sway and dance along, even screaming “HERPES” upon request of singer, Jason Moules, who himself was viciously rocking his head side to side in a seeming display of trying to get rid of it from his shoulders. This band were extremely impressive, maybe a bit bizarre for an Enter Shikari show, but then again, they live up to the wide display of talent Shikari like to promote on their tours and without a doubt did they show how excellent they were.
After a slight pause, a quick change over, it was time for Hardcore Metal band Feed The Rhino. This was the first time seeing FTR and all we knew previous to this is that they are a band that doesn’t seem to stay on stage much. This was immediately proven correct, as singer Lee Tobin opened the set in the middle of the crowd, held back by his belt which was tightly gripped by security to ensure that he didn’t get lost in the sea of sweaty teens in the front few rows. This set was one of the most impressive live sets we’ve seen in a long time. Full of raw power, blasting guitar riffs and crowd interaction, Feed The Rhino had the 1000 strong room in their hands, feeding off of their energy and the crowd feeding off of Feed The Rhino‘s passion for their music. The band displayed diversity, with massive circle pits going from on side of the room to the other at one point in the set to the crowd having their lighters out and swaying at another point. Most would’ve paid the full fee just to see this captivating show alone! After a fast paced thrash set, the band went off stage to huge applause and screams, with instruments thrown on stage and various members lost in the crowd. We’d say that you’d call it a successful show, wouldn’t you?
However, the storm rages on. As the stage clears, a soundtrack plays, “10 minutes till the show starts, so prepare to stretch, 10 minutes till the show starts!” which is met with tremendous roars of joy from the crowd. The countdown continues, 7 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute and then… Bam. Lights out. Everything pauses momentarily.The Appeal & The Mindsweep 1 intro starts to play over the PA, almost drowned out by the rowdy Manchester crowd, who sang along with every word and every letter. Enter Shikari walk out triumphantly on the stage and begin one of the performances of their lives. Enter Shikari are a rare breed of band, a band who’re extremely socially conscious, extremely intimate and up front with their audience and can blend a huge style of genres into one song, which is displayed in their live shows, with many dubstep and electronica versions of their songs being thrown into their set. Something relatively new to this tour was the extreme amount of work that went into their set design, bringing a whole new meaning to a light show, which complimented and added to the experience even more so than if it were just the band on stage. The Mindsweep was only released a mere month ago but the crowd had to have played it religiously as the band rocketed through new songs such as Slipshod, The Last Garrison and Anaesthetist with huge crowd interaction, as well as slowing the set down during the encore to play the heartfelt Dear Future Historians, all with huge responses. A few golden oldies were thrown into the mix, such as Juggernaut, Mothership and Sssnakepit, just for good measure. Known for their non stop energy, Shikari pulled out all the stops, with Rou Reynolds ending up in crowd and on bar tops, singing and screaming along surrounded by fans, eventually making it back to the stage safely. The same can’t really be said for Rory C, who decided to sacrifice himself to the Manchester crowd, standing in the middle of a circle pit which slowly moved in and swallowed him up during The Paddington Frisk. After stopping the song, it took about three minutes for Rory to pop his head out of the crowd, making it back on stage to then play the song again. That really sums up the passion of a Shikari show.
In summary, there’s nothing that’s as comparable to the ecstacy of an Enter Shikari show. The feeling of belonging in a sweatbox with another 1000 people screaming along to four guys stood on stage playing some instruments (when we say some instruments, that means many different instruments – who’d have thought you’d see a trumpet being played at a Punk/Hardcore show?). With 2015 only just beginning, it’s easy to see with this show that there’s such a diverse amount of music out there which could easily dominate the UK charts, if not the world. Those being the calm Indie styles of Fatherson, or the reckless and unapologetic metal styles coming from Feed The Rhino, this show proved to be one of the best shows we’ve ever been too. If you ever have the chance to see any of these bands, don’t hesitate, or you’ll miss out on one of the best shows in the world right now.