Enter Shikari destabilise Leeds Academy with their live return

ENTER SHIKARI / DINOSAUR PILE-UP / NOVA TWINS
LEEDS O2 ACADEMY – 12/12/21

Since the return of live music mid-year, we can’t deny Enter Shikari’s huge UK tour has been one show we’ve all kept an eager eye on. With restrictions rising earlier this week there may have been some worry about the shows as they approached, especially with Bassist Chris Batten taken ill recently with Covid resulting in the band having to play with a recorded backing track from their warm up show earlier in the tour.

Fortunately, he wasn’t taken seriously ill and as Rou put it in London at their Alexandra Palace show recently he’s been “at home with his feet up watching Home Alone”, so now he’s knocked off the virus he’s back and Shikari are back at full force and rearing to go…

As we approach mid tour after a few tasty shows including Manchester O2 Victoria Warehouse & London Alexandra Palace, Shikari return back to Leeds at the O2 with high expectations, as we know Leeds crowds are always fairly rowdy.

The night kicks off with support acts Nova Twins (8) who effortlessly raise the noise and get the crowd perfectly warmed up with their electric punk-rap-rock opening the mosh pits. Frontwoman Amy Love has a huge stage presence aside bassist Georgia South and between them they breeze through a short set of furious tracks including ‘Antagonist’ and the bouncy ‘Taxi’. The duo really knows how to put on a great show and we’ll be keeping an eye out for their return next year.

The night kicks off with support acts Nova Twins (8) who effortlessly raise the noise and get the crowd perfectly warmed up with their electric punk-rap-rock opening the mosh pits. Frontwoman Amy Love has a huge stage presence aside bassist Georgia South and between them they breeze through a short set of furious tracks including ‘Antagonist’ and the bouncy ‘Taxi’. The duo really knows how to put on a great show and we’ll be keeping an eye out for their return next year.

Next up was a more straightforward approach from Dinosaur Pile-Up (6.5). It’s not as explosive of a set as we’d hoped but it’s enough to keep the show momentum growing and keep the crowd on their toes. Older tracks such as ’11:11’ are mixed in with the more recent grungy ‘Celebrity Mansion’ to build up the short set of headbanging guitar rock before ‘Back Foot’ closes out the set with its infectiously bouncy chorus.

As the Shikari blast off swiftly approaches a spaceship style warning countdown builds the energy of the room perfectly as the band take to the stage greeted like heroes as ‘THE GREAT UNOWN’ ramps the room right up with its explosive intro leaving brightly coloured confetti reminiscence of their album colours falling from the sky.

From here on we’re propelled into a little less of the unknown and into Enter Shikari’s (10) world of electronic rock we all know too well. A spectacle of strobe lights, lasers, and bursts of colour visually satisfy through an incredible set built up of the new and old, as Shikari take us time traveling through their back catalogue of fan favourites.

‘Sssnakepit’ features early on mixing its laser rave and furious mosh pits finding the crowd flying over the barrier to get the party started. ‘Juggernauts’ keeps up the pace and ‘Anaesthetist’ is greeted wildly to keep the night in full swing.

Frontman Rou Reynolds glides around the stage as he tears through each track swinging his limbs frantically around dancing with the crowd full of energy. The band sound incredible live as ever and don’t look to have lost anything having been away from the stage for so long, and each one of them play like it’s their last show beaming with a smile between each song.

After an hour of partying Shikari style like we’re on another planet the guys take a quick break before Rou takes front and centre along, guitar in hand for a stripped back solo version of ‘Constellations’ to give us all a breather before the madness resumes.

As tonight’s show is in support of their most recent album ‘Nothing is True & Everything is Possible’ it would be rude not to throw in a few new tracks for us to hear. ‘Satalites* *’ & ‘The Pressure’s on.’ Both featured earlier in the set, but the encore features ‘Reprise 3’ driving us into the fantastic ‘T.I.N.A’ to build back up the energy of the room and as Rou would put it “Level up” to end the night in true Shikari fashion. ‘{The Dreamer’s Hotel}’ has the Leeds crowd in a rampage of moshpits once again with the drum driven verse guides us all into an explosive chorus to bounce along too.

The electric intro to 2017’s ‘Live Outside’ echoes out as Rou prepares us for lift off for one final dance tonight to close out a fantastic evening with one of our favourite bands. The Leeds crowd sing their hearts reciting every lyric back at Rou and co. before the breakdown launches us into an explosive finish of colourful confetti launched through the academy, ironically letting us live outside of all the chaos in the outside world and just enjoy a solid shikari rock show like the good old days without a single worry. It’s been a perfect way to end a rough year and the return of live music, and we never doubted Enter Shikari to do just that.

Kudos boys, Kudos!

(PLEASE DO NOT CROP OR EDIT PHOTOS)

Photo Credit: © Danny Peart Photography 2021

Kudos boys, Kudos!

Danny Pearthttps://www.dannypeartphotography.co.uk
Editor / Live Music Photographer / Journalist at Soundcheck-Live

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