Enter Shikari Live at the Imperial

Tuesday 20th, February 2018 / 14:35
By Brendan Lee

Photo by Tim Nguyen

Friday, February 16th, 2018

VANCOUVER – Reaching peak velocity on the end of their first Canadian string in years, the St. Albans-bred post-hardcore trance-rock-electro-pop extraterrestrials, Enter Shikari, touched down in Vancouver, Friday night at the Imperial. In the hour-and-a-half between launch procedure and stratospheric departure, the band rocketed off a set of songs with a style that crossed the void between where we’re used to, and places more indescribable. 

It would be wrong to call it a concert. Let’s go with spectacle.

Photo by Tim Nguyen

The experience began with a 10-minute long countdown in which quirky British space-pilots communicated top-secret missions via radio. From there, the monstrous robotic light-rig back of stage blinked into consciousness, and behind a lucid-dream of synths, smoke, and stroboscopic light, the manic Rou Reynolds, with co-pilots abreast, began an extremely deliberate live performance.

Shikari’s music has often escaped definition and, since day one, they’ve been known as a band with a live show unrivalled. With that expectation in mind, and with fifteen hard-earned years of songs in the back pocket of their spacesuits, the set was near perfect. Unsurprisingly focused on their most recent, Bowie-esque album, The Spark – with, of course, classics like ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner’ and ‘Zzzonked’ weaved in — the setlist had the venue morphing from mosh-pit to rave-dungeon to indie-rock show in the matter of verses.

The sound was otherworldly. With the strobes came a sense of weightlessness, a lack of self-awareness as crowd and band intertwined. Moments flashed and time echoed away as bassist Chris Batten climbed atop the bar, guitarist Rory Clewlow crowd surfed an amp, and Reynolds joined the pit, couldn’t help but comment on all the sweat.

As quickly as their spaceship landed, it took off again. Like a glint of flame that flares with a short-lived spark, Enter Shikari included Vancouver as a part of their ongoing journey, one that started in England years ago, and continues ever upward, towards horizons unknown.