Enter Shikari – Converse Gig @ 100 Club, London

shikari converse

Monday 28th January 2013.  The first gig of the year.  This was going to be one hell of a special night; a money can’t buy, Converse gig at the legendary 100 Club, for the lucky winners of free balloted tickets.  A shame then, that we fans and guests alike, were left outside queuing round the block, for the first hour of the evening due to rumoured capacity issues.  Both drum and bass party starter DJPdex and electronic math-core, dub-step master and Frenchman, The Algorithm, (aka Remi Gallego) played, unheard, so close, yet so far underneath our feet on Oxford Street.  Quel dommage we cry!  Monsieur Gallego’s recent album “Polymorphic Code” has created quite a stir for those who appreciate computational elements within heavy riffing, hard trance music magic!  I am, therefore, only sorry that I cannot include The Algorithm’s promising set in this review.  C’est la vie.

Perseverance is a virtue.  Whilst some gave up and went home, what was left of the determined queue was finally permitted access just in time to countdown Enter Shikari’s call to stage. With shoulders rubbing walls and low ceilings above, playing deliciously airless venues like 100 Club just confirms that this band is not untouchable.  Literally.  It is one of the beautiful things about them.  They have fast gained revered status in the overrun punk rock world of today with their talent for merging dub-step and dance with hard-core punk rock and clear melodies and yet despite this status they still have the same rapport with their space invading fans.  This in itself is a thing of beauty, especially when thirty of the buggers join the stage for a jive, a dive and a hug or two.  The band embrace it; it is a party free for all!

The security staff didn’t know what had hit them when the gig exploded with “System/Meltdown” and “Sssnakepit” and were certainly given a run for their money, propped against pillars in front of the stage to steady themselves over the barrierless blur of heads, arms and legs below.  By the time “Stalemate” was over too, the ceiling was dripping.  Singer, Rou grabbed a towel and negotiated a different angle from which to sing “Hello Tyrannosaurus”, before proceeding to scale the walls opposite the stage.  As a break was taken in the familiar form of lengthy banter, this time about no expense spared stage adornments, drummer Rob Rolfe produced a miniature flash of red coloured torch light to hang on the wall behind him.  “Return to Energizer” bounced along and the gently poignant acoustic intro to “Gap In The Fence” provided another welcome breather before it too gathered its crazy momentum.  “Arguing With Thermometers” invited  the previously mentioned stage invasion and the drips falling from the ceiling were now a dubious dark red colour, presumably the paintwork.

“Mothership”, full of its powerful choruses chanted by the audience to “go tell all your friends that this is the end”, just begged reassurance that we are far from the end as far as Enter Shikari are concerned.  Close to celebrating their tenth anniversary as a band, they have much more work to do in spreading their musical messages to us all.  Indeed, before they bust out the last song of the evening and again, shared their stage, we listened hard to Rou’s address, “In a decaying society it is the responsibility of punk rock music to change that.  Stay strong.”

This review is also available at www.stereoboard.com via http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/177098/9

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