LIVE: Enter Shikari @ Outernet

By Jess McCarrick

Being a relatively new venue certainly didn’t hold back Outernet as it readied itself to host Enter Shikari. Being three floors below street level does apparently have its advantages, most obviously being the astute absence of light we were plunged into, as silence enveloped the room and the band took to the stage. With the low hum of distortion, the gloom was slowly alleviated with a periodic flicker of vertical strobe lights. So began an evening to remember.

With a blinding flair of lights, frontman Rou Reynolds broke into the opening melody of recent single ‘(pls) set me on fire’, where he delivered on a high falsetto that instantly saw a rush of hands form the iconic upside-down triangle – a symbol the band have carried with them since the beginning. Light poured through fingers and onto faces in a moment of unity. That moment passed as fast as it came as the immediate hyper high tempo synth explosion of ‘Juggernauts’ snapped us back to reality, an audible spell that tore the crowd apart to form a room sized pit. The next collection of songs were torn through with the moment blurring via the constant collisions of bodies.

The one thing consistent through any Shikari gig is that you can count on an eclectic mix of people present, each probably collected during a different era of their sound – from metalcore to indietronica, they all come out in throngs to watch. Although the cult group have long since eclipsed the roots of their initial sound, their rebellious nature still rings true even as they’ve evolved. This is partially due to the unwavering charisma of frontman Rou Reynolds who often engages in poignant rhetoric mid set to ground the political lyrics everyone is accustomed to in levity and grace.

Reynolds noted eagerly that the quickfire round – a staple of a Shikari show – was to be updated for the 21st century. What we came to realise was this meant the electronica elements were faster with a techno edge. ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ was condensed to a two minute blitz with the infamous three part clap echoing against the well-tuned space. Though it was slightly disappointing to not see a full version of the song, along with ‘Havoc B’ and ‘Bull’, it was refreshing to hear the elevated deepcuts.

The relentless pairing of grand synth soundscapes with a mesmerising light show was a sight to behold. A synced-up harmony of instrumentation and production made the pulsing lights illuminate shadows that danced across the stage. Reynolds admitted they were under rehearsed since it was the opening show of their latest tour – but even with the slightly choppier elements, they are a band that excel in the improvised, with it even adding an element to the sound.

Unequivocally preaching on topics from environmentalism to LGBTQ+ rights is a core part of Enter Shikari ethos; it never could be seen as inauthentic. That feeling was marked in the encore as ‘satellites* *’ pulled us all in close and confetti trickled through the air. Their integrity is perhaps their greatest strength, as they continue to lead by example in dedication and quality. They are a joy to behold, with a serendipitous nature that creates an infectious frenzy when translated to a live show.