Enter Shikari; Leeds University, Sunday October 21
Massive tunes, a skip-load of glowsticks and a bloody big rabbit
There’s a rabbit in the pit. Seriously, there is. Among the glowstick-juice spattered seventh circle pit of hell that has temporarily opened up in the centre of Leeds University, there bounces a brave, not to say suicidal, young man in a bunny suit. “Are you guys ready to get this party started?” screams Shikari singer Roughton Reynolds, as Bunny Boy and several hundred other rubber-limbed certifiable mentalists prepare to bodyslam their assent. The St John Ambulance lady watching from the side blanches, probably wishing she’d brought along more gauze.
It’s the opening night of Enter Shikari’s biggest tour yet, their first with their own PA, lights and, to open proceedings, their own seven-foot black-robed werewolf and red-eyed skull – it’s nearly Halloween after all. You can taste their anticipation (barely, through the acrid fug of sweat and broken glowsticks) but as they bound on to their self-titled technocore theme tune and its gloriously directionless cry of ‘SHIIIIIT’, you can see, too, that they’re more than ready for it.
Enter Shikari might not be the deepest of bands, or the most polished, but they’ve brought something more vital to the party; their rampant genre crossbreeding and no-bullshit sportswear-and-short-hair style is an energy boost for a scene too often stuck in a stylistic rut and too busy with its hair stylers to remember to laugh at itself. And most of all, they’re fun. More fun than you can shake a glowstick at. Although the crowd are certainly trying. “You know those glowsticks you’ve all got?” asks Roughton. “We discovered that they’re shipped in from Japan and they’re full of Japanese spunk.” He grins evilly, surveying the giant neon-spattered, joy-fuelled money shot below him, before tearing into a frenzied, triumphant version of ‘Return To Energiser’.
‘Labyrinth’ sounds fantastic, a unifying blast of trancecore that unites indie, metal and new rave tribes in one crazy-fist dancing, skinny-jeaned community, bound together by youthful energy and chemical fluorescence. They close with ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’, everyone doing their best to clap in unison while building human pyramids in the moshpit. The last words are lost in a squall of ravey keys, as mental drummer Rob wades into the crowd.
“Someone’s lost their fucking passport,” laughs Roughton, holding up a sorry-looking document, dropped in the fray. It’s alright, though. In Enter Shikari’s world, there are no borders.