LIVE REVIEW: Enter Shikari, As Everything Unfolds, Cody Frost, Saint Luke’s, Glasgow, 15/03/2023
Photo Credit: Calum McMillan
A 200-year-old church isn’t an obvious choice of venue for a band as forward thinking and cutting edge as Enter Shikari and their idiosyncratic blend of post-punk, hardcore, rave and drum and bass…but it is a beautiful choice. Blessing (get it?) the venue with their presence for the second time on their unique residency run of smaller UK venues (hitting the same cities, the same venues once a month for three months) Shikari bring a refreshed setlist, a new single and a new range of emerging UK talent in support.
Cody Frost benefits from two things. Firstly, the good will of the crowd after their storming performance as the key vocal on Shikari’s single Bull and secondly from just having a whole tonne of infectious charm.
It’s fair to say that the live performance isn’t the fully finished article quite set. But where the set is a little rough around the edges, it’s those little flaws that actually help highlight how authentic and raw their tunes are. The foundations of a compelling and artificially challenging, quirky artist are readily apparent. Certainly, future Cody Frost material is something any with their finger on the pulse of alternative music would want to keep their eye out for. 7/10
As Everything Unfolds on the other hand are way, way, way at the other end of the spectrum. Their set is accomplished, professional and it feels very well-rehearsed. For both good and ill. It lacks the spark and raw charm that Cody Frosts set had but it’s also clearly a band who have sunk a lot of time into their stage craft.
A slightly muddy sound makes it difficult to really get into the depths of their tunes, sub drops and drums tend to dominate and it robs a lot of the songs of their true impact. That being said, their chops are beyond reproach and they’re clearly put the work into crafting these tunes. As modern as the band sound, there’s a little hint of the early 00’s alt scene that lends just a bit more interest to the mix. Think a really modern take on the more raucous end of the tracks from Evanescence‘s classic Fallen. Maybe not an obvious reference point, but it’s there. 6/10
It’s safe to say at this point that Enter Shikari are one of the best to ever do it. This residency show has a set that’s slightly less aggro than the first, but it doesn’t lack any of the intense joy and love.
From the second the band breaks into recent single It Hurts, in an almost overwhelming blast of sound and colour, the energy doesn’t relent for even a second. A clearly euphoric experience for both band and crowd. Especially in a venue as uniquely beautiful as Saint Luke’s, the band’s colourful lasers and pulsing lights casting fascinating shadows on the ancient architecture of the church.
The band clearly are hugely excited to play new material, It Hurts, (pls) set me on fire and the very Prodigy-esque Bloodshot and all of the new cuts pop off. Increasingly, it looks like Shikari might be the successors to The Prodigy’s crown of bridging the DIY elements of both punk and rave/drum and bass in a way that does both scenes true justice. Synths aren’t uncommon in rock music, but few bands can blend them with such a deft touch as Shikari. In fact, none can.
Having Cody Frost return to join the band for Bull, one of their stand out tunes of recent years, is a huge highlight as is the always anticipated Sorry You’re Not A Winner, this time with a twist of a live rendition recent Pendulum remix taking over as the second verse kicks in. Further evidence that no other bands can touch their ability to twist genres together or breathe new life into songs well over a decade old at this point.
Sure, there were a couple of tech difficulties, but with a crowd as adoring as this, and a band with a mindset like this, it only serves to pull artist and audience even closer. Breaking things down to just an acoustic Stop The Clocks and a fully acapella System… with a sold-out room singing at the top of their lungs is all you need to witness to understand just how much love and joy this band inspire.
A final observation, the ability of a band with such strong political messaging woven throughout their visuals and lyrics to still be a huge amount of fun without diluting that message, or appearing tow face, is just another piece of evidence that demonstrates what a unique proposition Enter Shikari are.
One of a kind and one of the best to ever do it. 9/10
Words and photos by: Calum McMillan