Review: Enter Shikari - Pyramid Centre, Portsmouth UK


It seems quite a surprise that four lads from the quiet town of St Albans can make post-hardcore, electronicore and metal-core music through the use of hard electric guitar riffs, blood pumping drums, thudding bass and hard trance synthesizer.

I’m not a huge fan of hardcore and metal-core music, but on Saturday night in all honesty my mind was blown. Enter Shikari, as part as their Europe, UK and Ireland tour performed their first proper full headline tour since October 2009 on Saturday evening at the Pyramid Centre in Portsmouth with the great support of four piece American Progressive post-hardcore band Letlive and British Hardcore punk band Your Demise.

As a much newer fan of post-hardcore music, it was my first time seeing or hearing either  of the support acts. Alongside a young teenage crowd the feeling became climatic.

Letlive opened the hardcore gates to over 2000 people with a forty-five minute set list with their energetic and crowd teasing stage performance. Originating from Greater Los Angeles in 2002, Letlive came together from local acts to create a concept. and express ideas making their audiences think and feel. The Venue went pitch black, until a burst of white strobe lighting flashed upon the crowd’s faces. The harsh screamo voice of lead singer Jason Aalon Butler made the adrenaline kick in and the crowd started to react to the bands passionate stage presence. Performing songs from their most recent rereleased album titled ‘Fake History’, the band produced a strong performance through shredding guitar and exciting lighting through the use of purple filters to create a sense of mystery and excitement, and a smoke effect revealed a new portal to young fans.

The following support act was Your Demise, a five-piece band from St Albans, Brighton and Salisbury. Being formed in 2003, the young Hardcore Punk band performed a less pleasing performance. Your Demise in all respect did perform a good set list and strobe lighting show, yet I didn’t feel their performance reflected positively on me or the young audience through the use of screamo and non existent melodic vocals. Despite my distaste in Ed McRae’s lead vocals, I began to take a liking to the bands use of accelerating guitar riffs and Slap bass which got the crowd dancing and head banging all the way through the bands forty-five minutes. Playing from their second Album ‘Ignorance never dies’ and most recent Album ‘The Kids We Used to Be’, Your Demise was a clear crowd pleaser yet the band and their performance did not appeal to me.

A great build up was simmering as we all waited for the main event.
Do I need to tell you who?

Enter Shikari. A name, which sings out to the world of post-hardcore and Rock music. As the band arrived on stage the feeling among us grew into huge excitement. Suddenly without an introduction, the band opened with Destabilise, which proved to be a great number to open with. As the mosh pits began the rough and crackled vocals of Rou began to engage the audience instantly. It was easy to see how comfortable the lads were on home soil as a small technical difficulty occurred, as Mothership (from the Take to the Skies album) was being performed with that infamous synth riff, Shikari took it in all good spirit and carried on like nothing happened. Mothership was performed with great anger, which brought a new feeling to the gig.

Zzzonked followed an extended version of Mothership.
I am not very interested in the song Zzzonked, hearing it of the album ‘Common Dreads’, but Shikari yet again changed my mind. Throughout the song the stage presence of Bassist Chris Batten was immense. Climbing on his amp while singing and shredding baselines was a clear crowd pleaser.

The band followed with a few songs from their Take to the Skies album which proved to go down well with the audience as the entire crowd sung the words to Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour, Return to Energiser and Reprise 1.
As the white strobe lights flashed a sudden transition into red lighting calmed the mood. Yet again another changed of lighting occurred, pink and green backlights gave a clubbing and futuristic theme, which was in connection with Rou’s dubstep sounding synth riffs.

Photo by Shirlaine Forrest
Arguing with Thermometers and a surprising acoustic track changed the atmosphere in the centre, calming everyone and shying away from the full pedalling energy previously displayed. The combination of Screamo and Melodic vocals worked extremely well with each other throughout Shikari’s set list. But after a brief break from hard music, the lads made it clear what they did best. No Sleep Tonight followed with it’s high pitched vocals and growly Screamo which built up a huge climax into the next song, one their most famous tracks from Take to the Skies album - Common Dreads. Enter Shikari then began to seem much more familiar to me after I became a fan of Take to the Skies album back in 2007.

Released only just this autumn, SSSnakepit (from forthcoming album A Flash Flood of Colour) warmed to the ground. I specifically found the guitar riffs engaging and just the feeling behind the song made people want to be lively and passionate.

Now, how could Enter Shikari have finished without playing their two most famous and best songs in my opinion?. Sorry You're Not a Winner belted out by nearly everyone in the entire room was one thing, but seeing so many people psyched with the song was another. I felt that by a long way this was the best song of the entire night, it had everything you needed to feel amazed. Rou’s blood pumping screaming got the young audience jumping up and down, waving hands in the air creating terrifying teenagers. Juggernauts made the evening go from moderate to epic. The complicated synth riff  took the roof off and as the bass dropped it was like a vortex of sound sucking you right in. The night finished epically and honestly I felt gob smacked. My first hardcore gig and I absolutely loved it.

Seeing Enter Shikari live is a must see.
They will change your mind about music
 Review by James Bellis