3rd December 2017
Enter Shikari – “The Spark Tour 2017” - Special guests: Astroid Boys & Lower Than Atlantis
Why is it that in December each year there is such an agglomeration of concerts with really attractive line-ups? Whatever the reason, the chance to see these three all-British acts sharing a stage last Thursday certainly had the interested clientele jump up and down in anticipation.
The currently six-headed posse ASTROID BOYS from Cardiff, UK was the first band to open the evening. Their eclectic mix of punk rock and grime music might invoke bad memories about the ‘Crossover’ genre of the 90ies, but those worries are completely unwarranted. Their dynamic live show has earned them both local fame and also a place on Kerrang!'s shortlist of “ten killer new bands”. https://www.facebook.com/astroidboys / www.astroid-boys.com
Music & Performance
At around 7:35 pm, the band’s DJ entered the stage and started to spin some UK Hip Hop tracks. 15 min later he was joined by the drummer, and a few moments later by the rest of the band, three shouters and one guitarist. With the opener ‘Ghost’ from the 2017 album ‘Broke’ they immediately secured the attention of the crowd, which grew into solid bouncing, dancing and jumping in the first rows over the course of the set. Their lines were right on point, and their show was brilliant. The only downside probably was that the guitar riffs could have been much louder. ASTROID BOYS are certainly going places in the future.
Total: 7 / 10
Lower Than Atlantis
The quartet from Watford, UK has established a reputation of their own in the recent years in the field of Alternative Rock by touring with ALL TIME LOW and A DAY TO REMEMBER. Their latest release ‘Safe in Sound’ takes a more polished approach and has them fully established as a more than welcome alternative to bands like JIMMY EAT WORLD or Fall OUT BOY. www.lowerthanatlantis.com / https://www.facebook.com/lowerthanatlantis
Music & Performance
After a surprisingly short stage break, LOWER THAN ATLANTIS entered the stage at 20:30pm accompanied by a piano-based intro, and immediately started to perform the opener ‘Had Enough’. Their sheer acoustic energy was underscored by the visual presence of twelve (!) Marshall Guitar cabs with their special band design, which made it clear that guitar aficionados would get their share on this evening. At song number four, singer Mike Deuce requested the creation of one large round circle pit, and the crowd happily obliged. The band played mostly new songs form their recent album for their 50-minute set, but also the older songs, such as ‘English Kids in America’ and the final song ‘Here We Go’ were well received by the crowd, and underscored why the band got here in the first place.
01. Had Enough
03. Ain’t no Friend
04. Work for it
05. Get over it
07. English Kids in America
08. Here We Go
Total: 7.8 / 10
The band’s roots go back to the start of this millennium. However, it was not until 2006, when the wider music world took notice of the furious mix of trance and dubstep elements with punk rock guitar riffs, created by the quartet from St Albans, UK. Around that time, their aptly named debut album ‘Take to Skies’ was released and reached No. 4 of the UK album charts. From there, the band’s popularity knew only one direction: upwards. Notably enough, the band did not fall for the trap to repeat itself, but instead maintained their momentum in creative development, and took their style of ruthlessly combining wildly different musical elements to the next level. Find out more about the band via www.entershikari.com or https://www.facebook.com/entershikari.
Music & Performance
Finally, it was time for the band of the evening. Around 9:30pm, the lights went out, and a large radar-like projection appeared behind the drum set. Lasers moved in sync to the tunes of ‘The spark’, and all sorts of spoken messages and radio chatter emanated from the spectacular quadrophonic sound installation, announcing that the band has reached its destination. Singer Roughton "Rou" Reynolds appeared with his electrified hair and his 80ies glasses, giving the perfect “mad scientist”-impression. He and his band members were greeted by hundreds of euphoric fans showing the band specific triangle sign with their hands. The energy level in the room was already quite intoxicating during the first two songs, but it was the song ‘Solidarity’ that really sent the crowd over the edge. I have never witnessed so many crowd surfing girls before. However, despite all the moshing and pogoing in the circle pits, people were really courteous and respectful, helping each other up in solidarity. After the epic song ‘Rabble Rouser’, things took an unexpected, quieter turn, which provided a welcome opportunity to get some rest.
Rou and his drummer had sneaked to a second stage near the podium for the sound engineers in the middle of the arena, and started to perform the ballad ‘Airfield’, during which the audience sang their heart out. The subsequent song ‘Adieu’ benefitted from the added energy of a second manned drum set, as the rest of the band had returned to the original stage. So the time for recovery was over, as Rou and drummer Rob Rolfe made their way back to the main stage, and the band performed the epilepsy-inducing song ‘Anaesthetist‘. After that, the atmosphere reached fever pitch levels, as ENTER SHIKARI broke out into an 8-minute medley of four of their songs all pitched at 147 bpm, and boy did the crowd love it. After 80 minutes of playtime, the lights went out briefly, and the people immediately broke out into ‘ENTER SHIKARI’ chants, demanding their heroes return to the stage. That was exactly what they did for a two-song encore, which was welcomed frantically by the crowd, and once again triggered lots of work for the security people, having to pluck incoming crowd surfers from the hands of the audience.
This was certainly an evening for people to remember, and probably quite a few seats in Cologne schools will have remained empty on the following day due to acute post-concert fatigue. It is absolutely fair to say that this performance has been mind-altering, and marks the beginning of hopefully further great things to come from this remarkable band.
01. The Spark (played from tape)
02. The Sights
04. Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour…
05. Take My Country Back
06. The Last Garrison
08. Undercover Agents
09. Arguing with Thermometers
10. Rabble Rouser
14. Sorry, You’re Not a Winner / Sssnakepit / …Meltdown / Antwerpen
17. Live Outside
Total: 8.8 / 10
All Pictures by Maximilian K. Unuetzer