ENTER SHIKARI BRING "THE SPARK" TOUR TO NEWCASTLE'S METRO RADIO ARENA
Opening the show tonight we have Cardiff's Astroid Boys. With the arena not quite full, this doesn't put them off at all. Their rap/rock/grime sound comes across well in a live setting and gets the audience involved. Highlights of the set come in "Foreigners" and set closer "Dusted" which gets the now growing crowd bouncing.
Main support tonight comes from Lower Than Atlantis. Delivering a great set, they liven things up even more for the waiting crowd. We get a good mix of old tunes, with "Ain't No Friend" from 2014's self titled album, mixed in with new, "Dumb" from this years release "Safe In Sound". A storming rendition of "English Kids In America" follows and frontman Mike Duce makes his way down into the photo pit to interact with the crowd before ending with a storming run through of "Here We Go".
The lights drop, the quadrophonic sound kicks in, and 'Mr Magpie' starts to discuss his secret mission with his cohorts, it's almost time for Enter Shikari to take to the stage. For those wondering, quadrophonic sound is something which Enter Shikari introduced on their tour at the start of last year. Picture a normal concert, speakers at the front and that's you all done, not for Shikari. They have giant sets of speakers at the front of the arena but also two equally giant sets of speakers suspended from the back of the arena, facing towards the front. This creates a completely immersive surround sound in a live concert, which is both surreal and breathtaking.
The band rush the stage and kick into "The Sights" from new album "The Spark" which was released back in September. This being the first UK tour the new songs have been played live, they sound absolutely massive. "Solidarity" from 2009's "Common Dreads" ups the tempo even more but it's not long before we're transported all the way back to the beginning, with "Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour" from 2007 debut album "Take To The Skies" whipping the room into a complete frenzy. The energy is kept up with the triple hit of "Take My Country Back", "The Last Garrison" and "Radiate" before things are slowed down a bit for another new track, "Undercover Agents". "Arguing With Thermometers" picks up the tempo again and blends seamlessly into "Rabble Rouser", another new song which sounds absolutely HUGE live.
The arena goes quiet and the band disappear off stage, only for frontman Rou Reynolds and drummer Rob Rolfe to appear on a platform on the sound desk at the back. Complete with piano and drum kit, we get beautiful run throughs of "Airfield" and "Adieu" with the latter blending into the Routron 5000 Remix of the song bringing guitarist Rory Clewlow and bassist Chris Batten back on stage with Rou and Rob still on their seperate platform.
"Anaesthetist" fully utilises the quadrophonic sound with the effects bouncing around the whole room, before we're warned to expect the most ferocious 8 minutes of the set, which has a mash up of debut hit "Sorry, You're Not A Winner", "Sssnakepit", "...Meltdown" and "Antwerpen". We're then treated to "Zzzonked" which has not been played on the tour so far, and has the crowd going ballistic.
The band leave the stage signalling the end of the main set, but it's not long before they're back and delivering a thrilling finale of "Redshift" (this song was written for venues this size!) and "Live Outside".
Enter Shikari always have done, and always will, deliver one heck of a show and tonight is no exception. If you ever have the chance to catch them live, make sure you take it!