Words and Photos by Lori Gutman
No matter how many times you see Enter Shikari live, there’s only one thing you know for certain: expect the unexpected. Despite seeing them for the sixth time in four years, I was just as excited as the very first time, because each Shikari show is somehow always better than the last.
Before the band took the stage in front of a packed out Music Hall of Williamsburg, they set off a ten minute countdown, and some fans were already starting to chant and crowd surf in anticipation. As Enter Shikari came out, they instantly got the crowd moving along to their latest single, “The Sights.” Although this is a tour in support of The Spark, the band made sure to perform some older fan favorites, including “The Last Garrison,” “Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour…,” “Anaesthetist,” and “Zzzonked.”
When I say this was arguably the sweatiest show I’ve ever been to, I’m not exaggerating. With countless fans stage diving and one even cartwheeling back into the crowd, their energy got more chaotic and contagious as the night progressed. The band matched the crowd, with frontman Rou Reynolds jumping all over the place and showing off his dance moves before joining the fans on the floor during “Radiate.”
To pick up the pace a bit more, they performed the upbeat “Undercover Agents” and “Rabble Rouser.” After he dedicated the following song to anyone who struggled in 2017, Rou made his way upstairs for “Airfield” in order to serenade the crowd from the balcony. Watching in awe, the whole crowd joined in and sang along to the powerful chorus. Nearing the end of their set, Enter Shikari performed an impressive eight-minute rapid-fire round, consisting of “Sorry, You’re Not a Winner,” “Sssnakepit,” “…Meltdown,” and “Antwerpen,” as guitarist Rory Clewlow, bassist Chris Batten, and drummer Rob Rolfe all commanded the stage.
To finish off the night’s encore, which included “Redshift,” “Live Outside,” and “The Embers,” Rou sat on the floor and performed a lovely solo rendition of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.” Despite the size of the venue–almost double their last NYC show at Rough Trade–it managed to feel even more intimate, as fans at the front reached towards him and sang along.
Evidently, with a performance like this, it’s easy to see why Enter Shikari have so many fans who consistently travel across the country, and even fly across the world, to see them as many times as possible. I think I speak for everyone who was there when I say I already can’t wait for the next show, and the one after that.