Graham Finney Photography

Live Review: Enter Shikari & Fever 333, First Direct Arena, Leeds

It’s a wet Friday evening as we venture out to Leeds enormodome for an evening of mostly cutting-edge modern genre hopping crossover music. This is an exciting matchup of some exceedingly high energy acts, and many cans of Monster may be required…

First up is nu pop punk teenage sensation, Noah Finnce, a young singer songwriter who made his name through cover videos on YouTube before signing to US emo rock dream factory, Hopeless Records. What follows is a hyper pop punk set for fans of Busted and early Blink 182. Noah acknowledges this and says, “I play pop punk and if you don’t like it, my bad.” Slightly defeatist we thought, but the boy clearly has spirit. He’s making a very polished racket and freely acknowledges his influences, at one point introducing a track by saying “this is my impression of Green Day”. It’s harmless fun and were sure he’ll be successful.

Next up, full disclosure is a band we are incredibly excited about, Fever 333 have been a workout companion to many over the last few years. So, if we collapse into superlatives, I’m sure you’ll understand. Exploding onstage with ‘Burn It’ and already blowing Leeds Arena to bits. The new lineup looked utterly at home on the sizeable stage and used every inch of it. Oldie ‘Made An America’ makes a welcome appearance with its utterly brilliant infectious refrain. This band is lean, mean and incredibly exciting. ‘One Of Us’ is dedicated to bassist, “Queen” April Kae and all the ladies in the audience and sounds utterly immaculate. For an arena show I am pleasantly surprised that the sound is very on point! ‘$wing’ erupts into a mass sing-along, even though Jason says the band don’t really do audience participation, the crowd certainly does!

Caught up in the moment, Jason has a scary second on the edge of the huge stage and takes a tumble! Thankfully, he returns unscathed and let’s face it this is Jason Aalon Butler we’re talking about; he scales rigs and jumps off things very regularly. The new track ‘Ready Rock’ is a raucous slab of hardcore meets hip hop fury destined to destroy. Penultimate track ‘Bite Back’ sounds even more ferocious live – if that’s even possible! Fever 333 left as they entered, utterly raging out and reminding the faithful that, “You can’t keep us under your thumb!” before exiting on a huge sounding ‘Hunting Season’ and letting us know that Leeds is certainly alive tonight!

Following that display is the challenge for Enter Shikari tonight and we’re not ready for the response to that!

In mere seconds, a dramatic take on ‘System / Meltdown’ expels any thoughts that they were outgunned at all. Hyper charged energy and dazzling light displays attack us on all sides with furious dubstep basses. This is going in hard! Following up with ‘Live Outside’ keeps us all the insane low-end action whilst taking a more melodic approach. The enraptured crowd are utterly ecstatic in their response. The bass is extremely profound and unlike anything we’ve heard at a rock gig, at a drum and bass night, yes, but never at a rock show, but this is not your average arena rock show. ‘Anesthetist’ sends the audience into a huge joint skank out and sings most of it for vocalist Rou! When you think it’s done the original morphs into Reso’s amazing DnB remix and all hell erupts, and all boundaries are destroyed. ‘Torn Apart’ follows and shows us once again how you successfully fuse dance music and rock music together in the first explosion of glitter cannons. A striking ‘Jailbreak’ climaxes in Rou breaking out of a jail made of light (yes, really!) and into the crowd. It is obvious that this entire experience has been choreographed very carefully so the band can fully explore the space.

For his next trick Rou seems to be performing escapology for the formidable breakbeat workout, ‘Bloodshot.’ The belters just keep coming, with the 8-bit arcade hard stepping ‘Sssnakepit’, here given a thorough re-rub! Then, huge goldfish, special drummer buttons, it’s all here and at this point we’re reluctant to give away any spoilers!

Full on rave that could flatten Boomtown – check, Death gutturals – Check, bigger light show than most Andy C gigs – Check. Jason Fever 333 joins the boys onstage for new single ‘Losing My Grip’ and the energy gets so high it’s definitely at Fever pitch (excuse me) Rou then breaks it right down with ‘The Pressure’s On’ and ‘Juggernauts’ performed on his own with a single guitar from atop a pillar made to look like a high rise and we all catch our breath for a short while, it’s really quite beautiful.

Then comes a massive surprise and to say Enter Shikari knows how to stun a crowd is an understatement! We truly can’t give this away while the band are actively still touring on this run as it’s just too good, we’ve never had to say this about a band before, TV shows, maybe but bands don’t generally come with spoiler alerts!

A huge ‘Mothership’ follows, and we are feeling quite dizzy as it segues perfectly into Common Dreads crushing ‘Solidarity.’It Hurts’ goes off like a multi coloured disco bomb and more confetti explosions fill the air as we check into the ‘The Dreamer’s Hotel.’ You really forget how many certified bangers Enter Shikari have, and at almost 120 mins there’s not one filler to be heard. Not many bands can do that, and no one does it like this, at all!

A full on Breakcore intro (because why not) takes us into the track that started it all, ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ but tonight it’s given a full DnB remix halfway through that seriously bothers Leeds Direct Arena’s structural integrity! Enter Shikari sign off with a triumphant ‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ and screens full of fireworks and the crowd utterly blown into space.

This has been a gig like nothing we have ever witnessed. we think that we’re safe in the assumption no one else can do it like Enter Shikari did tonight!

Review By George Miller –

All Photos By Graham Finney / Graham Finney Photography