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Live Review: Enter Shikari - London Borderline - 26/2/09

It is particularly strange to start a live review of a band's performance with what happened at the end of the show. However, to not mention the havoc and hectic (Sorry for the pun) styled ending would be very foolish indeed. It is midway through the last song “Ok Time For Plan B” and no music is playing. However, the voices of the crowd are the ones echoing throughout the deep cavern that is the London Borderline, as the stage is littered with sweaty kids, all tangled up in one glorious catastrophe of a mess. The band simply cannot play, much to the hindering of several people crashing down onto the drum kit and vocalist Rou Reynolds being lost among a sea of legs, arms and microphone stands. This is the conclusion of tonight’s performance, each song leading up to this wonderful-yet-messy finale. Many bands who have gotten noticed and have gathered much of a following often love to play ‘intimate shows’ and have ‘up close and personal with our fans’ moments. However, when Enter Shikari chose to light up the Borderline on this cold Thursday evening, they didn’t realize how intimate the show would be. ‘Up close and personal’ is most definitely an under-exaggeration.

Let’s roll back time a bit, to August 2007. Enter Shikari had just triumphed over Starlight superstars Muse for 'Best Live Band' in Kerrang! An award that was voted for on the strengths of their blinding and ‘jaw dropping’ light shows and the impressive collaboration of synth notes that they cram underneath Rou Reynold's ear-splitting vocals and guitarist Chris Batten’s harmonic voice. However, this show at the London Borderline removes them from their usual screen spectacular and proves to everyone that tonight is all about the songs and how well received they have been. Fusing their older songs with their new additions from their unreleased new album ‘Common Dread’, the band is on fire tonight. As they blaze from new opener ‘Solidarity’ into the bouncy rhythmic ‘The Feast’, Enter Shikari has proved that their new songs can fit in well with the tracks from ‘Take to the Skies’ and the number of demos they released before then. One fan even saying that "It was the most refreshing AND mental show that I have seen them at." Such an odd description for tonight's performance, judging by the state of the stage at the end.

It’s the fans that really make the show. From the constant crowd surfing throughout the entire set, to the ones that sing all the lyrics to all the songs (mysteriously, even songs that haven’t been released yet and only have been played at live shows) they are the ones that shake the rafters of the venue and emit enough shouts to wake the dead. Not alot else can compare to the atmosphere of tonight’s show. Even with the lack of ‘Mothership’ and ‘Jonny Sniper’, two songs that have been the highlight of Enter Shikari’s sets on their previous tours, the cheers for ‘We Can Breathe In Space, They Just Don’t Want Us To Escape’ and recently released downloadable track ‘Antwerpen’, (which is welcomed by a roar from every person in the venue, despite it only being available from 7pm the previous day. Must have been stuck on repeat on every attendee’s iPods over the past 24 hours) help to clean up the doubts of the moaners on online forums stating that “Enter Shikari used to be good back when no-one knew of them”. This, of course, is not the case. Enter Shikari are back and judging by their new tracks tonight, such as ‘Hectic’, ‘Havoc B ’ and ‘The Jester’, even a song that sounds like it has sampled a jazz record, their new album ‘Common Dread’ looks set to propel the band to dizzying, astronomical new heights.

Andy Touch

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