Tonight, I head to the Civic in Wolves with little knowledge of what to expect short of early TV appearances and Youtube research pointing to a techno/rave metal crossover. It’s fair to say that Enter Shikari have never pulled me in but have left me intrigued enough to want to shoot it for two reasons: 1, I second guessed it’ll be something new to shoot both visually and within the ‘metal’ genre, and number 2 we’ll get to later.
First up are Tek One. Now as I mentioned I’m also shooting tonight and any none photographers out there may well be unaware of the ‘3 song rule’ we face (yes we have to work our magic in just 3 songs usually)… well that’s tossed right out the window! Tek One are closer to a Dub Step club set (say that after a few drinks. You are trying it already aren’t you?) with no real obvious songs as such, and we remain up front for 90% of the show. A live DJ, MC and drummer kick up a party atmosphere that the crowd are only too in the mood to lap up, and it’s fair to say they do nothing wrong if you’re open to what’s on offer. As they leave the stage we’re told “now that’s how you fucking open a show”, and it’s hard to argue with that in context on tonight’s gig, the crowd certainly wouldn’t.
Young Guns depart from the dance elements to bring us straight forward in your face pop rock with heavy guitars and emo-tinged vocals. This kicks the crowd up another gear, they’re only too willing to get involved and little time passes before the crowd surfing commences. In fairness, the crowd are only too happy to enter into “call and reply” during the mic checks in change over, even managing a Britney number, but i’d like to think this is less easily pleased than just ready to party. Young Guns are clearly on this tour to offer the songs. They have very real melodies, beginnings, middles and ends and their standard band set up on an otherwise different kind of bill, delivers with in their genre just dandy.
Now Enter Shikari once beat my band in a top five poll in Kerrang! magazine (true story, I’m not sore at all that we’re the only ones not still going and without a deal from said list), and that is reason number 2 why I wanted to catch these guys. I’ve been completely indifferent to the point of not getting them in the past, but I always like to remain open minded and figured it was a live experience. If you are not familiar with ES, they’re not a million miles away from The Prodigy but without the hooks yet have more definite song melodies in general and heavier guitar overlays. They also have the advantage of appealing to a younger and more modern dubstep generation. Now if I’m honest, they’re no substitution for the Prodigy either and I’d sooner listen to Apartment 26 (look them up) on record, but that live experience concept still remains true as they have brought enough lights to play the LG Arena and own the stage from start to finish. The heat doubles, the crowd surfers triple and their appreciation quadruples, and at any one time a quarter of the audience can be found taking a breather with the medics or in the bar area. I think fair to say that unless you are a fan already, ES’s set kinda mashes in to one but also that it was a great club-like party none the less. No they won’t be winning any song writing award any time soon and no I won’t be walking away tonight wanting to buy an album or singing a song, but I certainly will remember the show over some others where I have.