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Live / stage review

Enter Shikari, 10 Jan, Academy

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Five minutes into Enter Shikari's set at the Academy, my Hungarian friend turned to me and said, "This is like watching Patrick Wilson in Hard Candy, except somebody put a wig on him and gave him a microphone." I had invited him along as a cultural exchange to bear witness to what many 20-somethings would call the pinnacle of their emo phase.

While I didn't feel as strongly about the performance, it was a touch disappointing. As someone who remembers 2007's Take To The Skies and festival performances circa 2010, the lack of full-bodied throwbacks was anticlimactic. Enter Shikari, like so many bands of that era, have diverged toward a hybrid of pop, alt-rock and emo that flits inconsistently around the musical spectrum. Add to that a growing tendency to turn lyrics into raging political mandates on indoctrination, the new world order and the power of the proletariat, and it all comes across a tad disingenuous.

It wasn't all bad, and in fairness to them there were several sound issues which affected the performance. At one point frontman Rou Reynolds had to stop a song after a few bars to talk to the sound guy. They managed to fit a big selection of tunes spanning their 12-year career into the set, the highlights being 'The Sights', 'Labyrinth' and 'Havoc B'. Sadly, old-time classic 'Sorry, You're Not A Winner' was only included in a quick-fire mash-up at the end.

The band's stage presence continues to be top notch and it's clear that they not only enjoy what they do, but also really enjoy playing together. The fact they have changed so much over the years and maintained a dedicated fan base is testament to their talent, but I can't claim to be one of the true believers.

Noah Martin

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