Enter Shikari @ Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, 21/11

Off the back of their fifth studio album, The Spark, Enter Shikari returned to Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse with yet another grandiose gesture of hard work and passion. Ten years on from their debut, Take To The Skies, on which they once professed “no sweat, no tears”, this contorted spectacle of emotion had them outpouring in flash floods.

The first throb of bass is always a penetrable force, but the installation of a quadrophonic surround system had vibrations shooting across three dimensions, causing adrenaline to rocket and ribcages to shudder. Opening with recent single, ‘The Sights’, Enter Shikari quickly launch with intense agility into a hectic set which takes a trip down memory lane with the inclusion of ‘Anything Can Happen In The Next Half An Hour’. Stopping for a short breath, drummer Rob Rolfe boldly claims, “that’s the sweatiest opening four songs of a gig ever!” – I can’t argue with that. But the next part of the set is no easier on the body; plummeting through ‘Arguing With Thermometers’ and ‘The Last Garrison’, an air of doubt arises as I scream the words “still air in my lungs”.

Eventually the show settles down as Reynolds and Rolfe dabble in a serenade from the balcony for ‘Airfield’ and ‘Adieu’, allowing the crowd the chance to reenergise, whilst also releasing all troubles and anxieties in one unified voice. A much needed rest indeed, as yet another twist sees an 8-minute long, 174-BPM “quickfire” section send rapturous ripples through the solid vibrating collective. The only other option to manic moshing are the human pyramids which sprout as part of the ritual of being at an Enter Shikari show; although incredibly painful to have the weight of several people upon your back, it is worth it all to be within this loving community.

Image: Tom Pullen

“Can we play Manchester every week?” frontman Rou Reynolds pleads, before shedding his shirt for closing song ‘Live Outside’ in the never-before-seen act of freedom from him. Through all the hardship, both on the private levels of performer and audience, as well as the public level seen in Manchester recently, this is a community which refuses to be torn apart.

Keiran Blyth

Feature Image by Victoria Warehouse