Enter Shikari live in Southampton: their final euphoric display of 2021

Guildhall, December 17: With the threat of more COVID restrictions imminent – and unknowingly on the cusp of cutting their tour short – the band remain as defiant as ever

Before Enter Shikari take to the stage at Southampton’s Guildhall, a prerecorded countdown promises the crowd “euphoria and a complete lack of inhibitions”. Six months earlier, their headline set at the Download Festival pilot had plenty of both.

However, since Shikari’s tour started two-weeks ago, Boris Johnson has introduced ‘Plan B’ measures to try and combat the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the entire music industry is once again desperate for support and bands have started postponing their tour plans with immediate effect. Shikari themselves had to start the run as a three-piece, with guitarist Chris Batten suffering from coronavirus. Though they don’t know it at the time, tonight’s show is prematurely the last of the run, following a coronavirus infection within their touring crew.

Luckily, Shikari have always managed to find joy in the darkest of times. Released at the start of lockdown, their 2020 album ‘Nothing Is True, And Everything Is Possible’ was a genre-crossing celebration of perseverance – and, tonight, they walk on to stage to serious fanfare.

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The soaring ‘The Great Unknown’ kicks things off with a burst of confetti while the shiny stadium rock of ‘Crossing The Rubicon’ champions action over fear. “I think Beckett said it best: ‘Try again, fail again, fail better,’ sings vocalist Rou Reynolds, quoting the famous Irish playwright.

Elsewhere ‘Satellites’, a poppy anthem of self-expression and sexual liberation, is performed under a flurry of rainbow lasers, while the trance-infused ‘T.I.N.A.’ would be the perfect soundtrack to an apocalyptic rave, all pulsating bass and existential worries. The St Albans mob know things are bleak, but they refuse to give in.

It’s perhaps why tonight also draws from the rage of ’A Flash Flood Of Colour’. Released in 2012, that album’s songs about political corruption (‘Destabilise’) and the impending climate crisis (‘Arguing With Thermometers’) are sadly more relevant than ever, as is ‘Anaesthetist’, ‘The Mindsweep’s ode to the power of the NHS.

Their aggy EDM tracks are delivered with a focused urgency tonight. “The dinosaurs couldn’t see the asteroid coming – what’s our excuse,” Reynolds asks before ‘Arguing With Thermometers’. Elsewhere he promises that “discontent is the first step towards progress” during the rap metal of ‘Sssnakepit’. Even at their most furious, the band call for change and community rather than carnage.

Later in the set, a swaggering ‘Rabble Rouser’ and a playfully chaotic run through of 2007’s breakthrough single ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’ see the band let loose before a beautiful, stripped-back take on ‘Constellations’, perhaps their most hopeful song to date.

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Enter Shikari have always carried themselves with an underdog mentality – especially since they made the leap to big, cavernous rooms in 2016. There’s none of that modesty this evening, though. Backed by an impressive light show, the band deliver a comfortable, confident show; they’re aware of the horrors outside but focus on the power of the people within. Tonight was empowering, electric and absolutely euphoric.

Enter Shikari played:

‘The Great Unknown’

‘Destabilise’

‘Sssnakepit’

‘Juggernauts’

‘Modern Living…’

‘Anaesthetist’

‘Satellites*’

‘Crossing The Rubicon’

‘Arguing With Thermometers’

‘Rabble Rouser’

‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’

‘Ghandi Mate, Gandhi’

‘Mothership’

‘Solidarity’

‘Constellations (acoustic)’

‘Reprise 3’

‘T.I.N.A.’

‘{The Dreamer’s Hotel}’

‘Live Outside’

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