At The Skylines opened up the show, and it’s another band that does the two vocalist sing/scream combo with the shredding guitarist – not particularly something that we haven’t already seen a million times before. That being said, out of all the bands that I’ve seen play that style, At The Skylines performed quite well; the intensity and fervor shown by the band isn’t often matched. Vocalists Mark Barela and Chris Shelley are both talented at their respective vocal styles. Although he might not like it, Barela screams are closely similar to that of Austin Carlile, vocalist for Of Mice & Men; Shelley has some serious pipes, something I didn’t expect to translate well live. The lead guitarist of the group shredded like his life depended on it, and was fun to watch throughout the set. My only complaint is that I heard the same breakdown over and over and over again; it seemed so formulaic and lazy.
At The Skylines have the right tools to really go places; if they utilize more of Shelley’s vocal abilities and reduce the number of breakdowns, they have some serious potential to release a great sophomore record.
letlive. took the stage next, and I was excited! I had missed this band a grand total of 5 times due to bad luck. I’m going to be blunt – if you haven’t seen this band play, you need to do whatever it takes to see them. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler is an incredible performer live, you’ll be glued to his antics the entire set; examples include him pulling his shirt over his face, shove the microphone into his mouth, and climbing on top of tall speakers. Aside from that, the band understands the importance of dynamics; they kicked into overdrive for “Renegade 86”, and understood when to flip the intensity on and off for “Day 54”. Their entire set was such an experience, I was cutting a rug the entire time – it would’ve been a crime not to.
It’s so hard to write about the band, because they speak so well for themselves with their performance; they easily fit into the upper echelon of live bands such as The Chariot and Grave Maker. I am extremely excited to see where their upcoming sophomore album takes them. If you’d like to hear a particular song from them, be sure and ask them, they don’t bite!
After a bit of delay, the lights dimmed; in fact, this was the darkest the venue had ever been in the many times I’ve been there – Enter Shikari was ready to go on. Two rotating spotlights made a slow creep around the walls, occasionally stunning a few people in the crowd; a large upside-down triangle fixed to the wall began to shine a bright hue of red, mixed with powerful shots of white light. “System” was the first and definitely most appropriate song to start this set; we all shouted along with vocalist Rou Reynolds before the song abruptly flowed into “Meltdown”, in which all hell broke loose. The fixed triangle violently emitted red and white light, blinding all hardcore dancers that immediately broke out to tear up the dance floor.
The band then proceeded to run through songs such as “Gandhi Mate, Gandhi” and “The Feast”. Long time crowd favorite “Sorry, You’re Not A Winner” made an appearance early on in the set, as the majority of the crowd knew exactly when to clap along.
In spite of other big tracks making an appearance such as “Search Party” and “Arguing With Thermometers”, the set hit its most epic point right before the encore. Enter Shikari ended a initial 15 song set with “Enter Shikari”, which left the crowd rattling the venue with “AND STILL WE WILL BE HERE, STANDING LIKE STATUES”; they continued to roar this line until the band came back for a two song encore.
The encore consisted of two songs – “Return to Entergiser” and “Sssnakepit”; while you might think that this would be a fairly quick punch to end the night, the band refused to let people go home without dancing. The two songs were both extended to allow people to let loose and shuffle their feet, myself included.
One of my favorite things about Enter Shikari’s live sets is that they mix things up for people that come out; you’re going to get various extended introductions and remixes by artists such as True Tiger and Ram, which are even more of a treat for long time fans of the band.
It was highly evident that everyone who was in attendance was there for Enter Shikari, which made things far more enjoyable than past experiences; the band really got a chance to shine and show America how they execute a headlining set. Without a doubt this tour was Enter Shikari’s biggest moment in America; they weren’t held back by a limited set time, the spotlight was on them for once. Although the production and crowds are a far cry from what one would experience in the U.K., what WAS here was incredible to soak in.
Enter Shikari is a band that mixes hardcore elements with dubstep/drum ‘n’ bass, which has a large appeal to a few demographics of people. I look forward to the band growing in popularity, and coming back to America in early 2013 for another rowdy and memorable performance.