A few weeks back, one of PM’s young buck recruits took it upon his fanboy self to pop along to the end of a pier somewhere on the English coast and review his favourite band, metalcore/dubstep crossover wunderkinds Enter Shikari (http://planetmosh.com/enter-shikari-grand-pier-weston-super-mare-10th-april-2013/). Nowt wrong with that, you might say – and we would wholeheartedly agree with you! Let the young ‘uns go out and enjoy themselves… BUT. We had a mad idea: what about we send one of our old hairies (i.e. yours truly – a middle-aged greying grumpy old shite) along to review the same band on the same tour? And, hence, your representative of the older PM generation ends up somewhere in a hellish basement, on a purgatorial level between a proper rock concert and a feckin’ rave!
Well, even before venturing in the direction of the venue, this pedantic old git spotted a snag… this was supposed to be a tour where said upstarts were performing in small venues in places they had not visited before – so, WTF were they doing back at the relatively large Mandela Hall for the third time in less than the same number of years? Rock bands obviously don’t let such minor pedantry stand in the way of selling tickets…
Opening tonight’s proceedings are a band PM are actually quite partial to, Dublin survivors Wounds. The quartet play with an angst-filled anger that suggests every gig may be their last, and with each show they become tighter and more mature: tonight is no exception, as they command the big stage with a confidence which suggests that no doubt they may be headlining it sooner rather than later. Vocalist Aidan Coogan is even more laconic and challenging than usual, but ends the set on a high when he decides to literally take his life in his hands and perform the iconclastic ‘Die, Die, Fucking Die’ from the middle of the enthusiastic moshpit.
The less said about sandwich band Hacktivist the better… their second-rate populist (c)rap conjures up visions of House Of Pain badly mashed with an RATM tribute band teaming up with some floppy haired dweeb who reckons he can string together a few rejected Devin Townsend riffs, resulting in a disjointed, inglorious and unhomogenous mess of beats and breakdowns… still, the kids seemed to enjoy it and that’s the main thing, innit bro’?
There is no doubt that Enter Shikari put on a good show, even if it’s high energy delivery soon becomes disjointed as they stop their performance twice – first during ‘SSSnakepit’ to ensure that a female fan in the front row gets medical attention and then slightly later when drummer Rob Rolfe suddenly bounds from his stool (closely followed by his band mates) to interfere in a backstage confrontation between security and a surly fan – and also seem to forget what songs (and I use that term VERY loosely) they are supposed to be playing!
While their style is, as mentioned above, very much a blend of metalcore and dubstep, with an over-reliance on the more dance elements of the latter, they also mash in other genres, such as nu-metal on ‘Sorry, You’re A Loser’, ska on ‘Gandhi Mate Gandhi’ and the reggae-influenced ‘Arguing With Thermometers’, and the band (especially Rolfe and bassist Chris Batten) interact well with their largely young audience, who react with plenty of dancing – even if several of them get carried away to the extent of paramedics having to be called to deal with one particularly serious case…
Stylistically, it was most definitely NOT my cup of tea, but this St Albans crew certainly know what they are doing. I’m all for cross-pollenating genres – that’s how music evolves after all – but if I want to go to a metal show, I’ll go to a metal show and if I want to go to a rave – well, I’m due a dental appointment soon!
System Meltdown / Sssnake (Remix Intro) / Sssnakepit / Sorry, You’re Not A Winner / Gandhi Mate Gandhi / Ye Olde Feast / The Jester / The Paddington Frisk / Destabilise / Havoc B / Arguing With Thermometers / Unite / Mothership
Return To Energizer / Zzzonked
Photographs by Marc Leach – http://www.marcleachphotography.com