LIVE REVIEW: Enter Shikari, Palaye Royale, Black Peaks, Barrowlands Ballroom, Glasgow, 23/01/2019
The difference between the two bands opening tonight’s proceedings is vast, but there’s elements of both found in the headliners. Black Peaks’ incredible and powerful set is overflowing with riffs and melodies as enormous as the slowly filling room of the Barrowlands. It’s a shame a band with a sound as richly textured, exciting and expansive as this play to so few people so early on. Performances like this deserve much, much more. Which is why Enter Shikari are in the position they are now.
When it comes to Payale Royale, the appeal isn’t immediately obviously, but it’s obviously capturing the imagination of a lot of young fans finding their way into rock music. There is a spark there, even if at first glance it looks like a heavily rehearsed and manufactured spark, that is making a new generation move and get involved. This band might be based more on following and stylistic flare than they are on music, but that was a criticism often levelled at Enter Shikari in their early days as well.
The reality is though, no matter how much other bands may share with Enter Shikari none of them are Enter Shikari. The band’s blend of hardcore punk, electronica, rock music and an emerging indie and experimental streak, continues to set them apart as totally unique in the UK musical landscape.
From the second the band emerge and launch into The Sights the crowd are entirely theirs. So much so that from almost the very start of the set people are crowd surfing and climbing on shoulders to get just a little bit closer to the undeniable energy flooding forth from the stage. Production wise, this isn’t Shikari at their peak, classy mirrors and lighting forming the main thrust, but unlike their openers this band need not to rely on gimmicks.
This set is admittedly dominated by rarely heard tracks from the band’s second album Common Dreads (now a decade old) and their latest, The Spark, never really loses any momentum (except during the increasingly odd Shinrin Yoku) and the spring loaded floor of the Barrowlands never stops moving for the 90+ minute set. The clever ways they blend tracks together, including the new infamous and always wonderful Quickfire round, speaks to a level of understanding of both their audience and their music that most bands will never achieve. Few bands this long far into their career have this level of dedication and unquestioning love for their music.
Which obviously is due largely to the quality of the band’s music, but is also due to the quality of THE band. So far into their career they still take the time to play long tours visiting everywhere in the UK, playing in smaller rooms to rabid crowds. When they bring those same crowds to their increasingly common arena shows, they throw every penny into incredible, innovative production to help shrink those empty spaces down into the intense punk club shows that the band built themselves on.
How many bands at this level are so connected to their fans that they open their encore with a heart aching rendition of one of their most loved songs dedicated to a fan who recently passed and played on his guitar? I can’t think of another, single one.
Enter Shikari are objectively one of the best bands at being a great band in the UK. Possibly the world. They have been for a long time, and it doesn’t seem set to change anytime soon.
Photos by: Calum McMillan
Words by: Calum McMillan