With a single spotlight on Rou Reynolds, he began System… accompanied by a backdrop of a house of an unsteady cliff, only joined by the band went it came to …Meltdown. Then came the show of a lifetime…
We should start from the beginning! First Direct Arena, Leeds – 9th February. It’s a rainy Friday night, but it doesn’t put a damper on the night.
Doors were at 6, and at 7 NOAHFINNCE came to the stage. Up-and-coming pop-punker, who I was looking forward to seeing. I followed Noah on TikTok a few years ago, just enjoying the content – and suddenly last year, he was playing Slam Dunk! He came on to classic Window and AOL start up sounds, which accompanied his latest single Growing Up on the Internet. Prancing around the stage, NOAHFINNCE was laughing and interacting with the crowd well. It was a performance full of a character, with little quips like “could you believe I wrote that with McFly” and “This one’s definitely not about JK Rowling”. I enjoyed the mixes that introduced songs such as SCUMBAG, that took the popular Harry Potter sound where Ron sacrifices himself in Philosopher’s Stone. All-in-all, it was a really good set – and I’ll be looking forward to seeing them again!
Fever 333 were next to take the stage, American hip-hop/rap mixed with metal. I enjoyed them a lot more than I thought I would, as someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of heavy metal, or rap. They spoke out for Palestine, and for the safety of women. They gave an incredible, energetic performance – which, if you’re a fan of metal, I’d recommend you go see. The crowd already knew and loved what they were hearing, and the circle pits were almost immediate. Songs I particularly liked were Swing, Made in America and Hunting Season. Fever 333 put on a great show, and I look forward to seeing more of them.
As I was seated, I can’t personally comment on the crowd – other than that they seemed to be having a really good time. There was a football-style ‘Oh Enter Shikari’ chant, and the classic ‘Yorkshire! Yorkshire!’ Although, my friend that was stood has told me that some people were quite pushy – rude pushy, as they weren’t near the circles. Which is a shame, because it was an incredible night, and a good crowd would have been the cherry on top.
First Direct Arena is a good venue, especially when it comes to disabilities. The staff are incredibly helpful, and there was plenty of warning signs around, warning of flashing lights during shows.
Between sets played a setlist of classic pub tunes. We got to dance to the likes of Summer of 69, I Want to Dance with Somebody and Girls Just Want to Have Fun. It was surprising – but what I’ve learnt from Enter Shikari shows is to expect the unexpected. I mean, last time I saw them was in Manchester, and the crowd started chanting for Yorkshire.
Enter Shikari live is an experience, as seeing music live should be. They don’t just come on, play songs and leave. Rou Reynolds has energy I don’t see in a lot of artists, running around not just around the stage, or through the pit, but making his way up through the balcony – and then back to the stage in the space of a song. Each song had a unique visual, some the band interacted with, some were accompanied by a laser show.
It was the live debut for a few of their new songs, such as Giant Pacific Octopus and Losing My Grip which features Jason Aalon Butler, frontman of Fever 333. Naturally, he joined them on stage for it. For Goldfish ~ the screen showed an incredibly grumpy-looking fish, and for Jailbreak the lights appeared looking like a jail cell – as the song continued, Rou broke the barriers and, eventually, held the lights in his own hands.
Sitting alone on a screen disguised as a building, just a guitar on his knee, Rou took to the stage for The Pressures On and Juggernauts. Slowed down and solo, there was a moment of awe, and the crowd seemed more united. It’s always a nice time, when the artists slow the set down. I had wondered how they’d do it, as a casual listener, I don’t know all Enter Shikari’s discography, and I hadn’t heard anything calm from them.
As I said, seeing Enter Shikari is an experience. I’d love to see them all the time, even as a casual listener – just for the energy and the spectacle. It’s a time to have fun and be transported into another world. I dare say, it’s Enter Shikari’s World, and we’re just living in it. Just for an hour and half, though.