Monday, 16 January 2017

Live at Alexandra Palace- an album review (partly)

Now as anyone who knows me, reads my blog or is unfortunate enough to follow me on Twitter, they will know how I feel about the St Albans quartet, Enter Shikari.

To say that I am a fan would be more than apt, having been lucky enough to see them ten times in the past ten years would be testament to that. One of the shows in particular will sit with me for the rest of my life- Alexandra Palace on February 27, 2016.

My friend James and I traveled up to the bright lights of London town to see this amazing band play such a fantastic venue, a night that I thought I would never be able to relive again, how wrong I was.

It was announced that a live CD of the show would be up for sale at the end of the year, just in time for Christmas. When I saw this I was overjoyed by the aspect of being able to listen to the best show I have ever seen all over again. What's more was there were a number of signed editions of the album but only for the first however many pre-orders. My heart sank a bit but at the end of the day the important thing was buying the album.

Weeks passed and I still didn't pull my finger out and buy it, probably because I wanted to get all my Christmas present shopping done for my family and girlfriend (understandably).

Then Christmas day came, I had finished stuffing my face with turkey and drinking copious amounts of gin before setting off to my partner's house for the evening. When I got there I was handed a selection of presents to open and what was the first one I unwrapped? Only a signed version of the Ally Pally CD, I was speechless. Beth Cole, you are a star!

So now the album.....

The sound of the crowd screaming at the start of the first track, Intro/Solidarity, took me right back to the night, standing near the front and seeing the powerhouse of Shikari storm the stage. Playing songs that I hadn't seen for years, the likes of Solidarity, The Jester, Arguing With Thermometers and No Sleep Tonight, gave me that warm nostalgic feel.

Anyone who has seen Enter Shikari live knows that they are in their element, getting the crowd pumping at each song, jumping from strength to strength. I reviewed the Mindsweep show in Camden a year previously and the enjoyment I got from each show didn't falter, didn't slow, it was as if each performance built up more respect for the band.

The album is nothing short of a triumph, amalgamating the passion from the crowd and the energetic and down-right mental performance by the lads.

Each track runs into the other with a bit of cheeky banter between, messages of love and togetherness and even a wonderfully unsuspected cover of Angels by Robbie Williams (what would Robbie Williams do?)

Other gold nuggets of musical mastery come in the form of the fantastic Hospitality remixes, Danny Byrd's mix of There's A Price On Your Head and the Reso remix of Anesthetist pump some electronic mayhem into the set, blaring through the speakers like a tour de force of drum and bass mastery.

The only downside (literally the ONLY downside) is the lack of a DVD feature, but anyone buying the album would've already known this as there were technical errors which made it an impossibility. Anyone wanting to have a peek at the glorious carnage that was Ally Pally can find the performance of Redshift on their useful video streaming channel Youtube...and I would heavily recommend it.

All in all, another perfect example of how Enter Shikari are one of the best live bands walking this earth.

Till next time!