Enter Shikari - O2 Academy Liverpool
Live Review

Enter Shikari – O2 Academy Liverpool

Liverpool Sound City played host to three hundred and sixty artist over a three day period, which is a pretty hefty amount. I’m here at the O2 Academy who are hosting three up and coming bands along side seasoned headliners Enter Shikari on the final night of the event. Liverpool’s O2 is gaining a reputation for putting on established acts from the alternative scene, it wasn’t so long ago that you wouldn’t expect anyone to come through Liverpool with other big cities not to far away. It’s definitely a good thing for the Liverpool alternative music scene and its injecting a little more passion in the crowds.

Arriving at 18:50pm just in time for Neck Deep‘s start time, or so I thought, I came to find Neck Deep where almost at the end of their set, so unfortunately I only saw a couple of songs by them and thus this isn’t a complete review, however i’ll do my best to sum up what I saw. Neck Deep are an energetic pop punk band with bags of energy. Their lead vocalist’s raw and emotive style is something thats been lacking in Pop Punk the last few years. It reminds me of the emotional draw bands like The Used or The Early November had when they first started out. They are almost certainly the type of band that will produce die hard fans who will learn every word to the songs and sing a long with full force. Their energetic and charismatic pop punk is lapped up by the crowd and Neck Deep have won over a pretty big crowd. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Next to hit the stage are Hacktivist who have been making waves over last year with there mix of Metal and Grime. People have been labelling their Metal style as Djent but not being particularly up on the metal scene, I don’t know if that’s as redundant as Sparkle Rock is to Math Rock. Either way, they take to the stage to a rapturous applause from the audience. They obviously have fans in the building today and straight away they jump on the command of Rapper J Hurley.

As the track continues I start to ask my self the question, why are this band as popular as they are? Is it the eye brow raising mix of metal and grime? Is it the musical talent the three musicians have gently nestled behind the two front men? Is it their political objection that’s at the forefront of their music? Each is easily dismissed by anyone of average intelligence, because they aren’t doing anything new, they aren’t doing it particularly well, and they are doing it with a distinct lack of intelligence. Maybe it’s eye catching to people who haven’t grown up with bands like Rage Against the Machine, or even Linkin Park, but it certainly isn’t anything special. It’s an average band who’s influences are well detectable, with average lyrical skill and upsettingly average flow.

It’s incredibly important to point out people like this band. They have a well constructed fan base and they are lining up some pretty big tours (soon to be supporting Limp Bizkit), and maybe they sound great when recorded but their live show, shows nothing special. One particularly aggravating attribute to this band is that Ben Marvin does do anything. There were maybe two occasions I saw him get more than one line in a song and he spent the majority of the time telling people to bounce or put there hands up. If you’re going to have two front men, at least have them both doing things in the band. Needless to say I am not a fan of Hacktivist’s live show, and I’m glad when it’s over.

Marmozets are next to hit the stage, and they are not at all what I expected. Although I’m not 100% sure what I did expect, there isn’t that sort of general consensus when it comes to Marmozets. Everywhere you look someone’s got another way of describing them, picking the pieces they identify with and leaving out the rest. I think that might be what makes this band good, that they are really hard to define musically. They look like that mix of Metal heads and Geeks you’d get in high school, those straight A students that suddenly pulled a ‘revenge of the nerds’ at the battle of the bands, but instead of 80’s syth pop it was Iron Maiden or Metallic covers played to the note.

They are also very homely, they have that Yorkshire charm to them, instead of saying cheers after songs, sayings like ‘Thank you, Much Appreciated’. So when they blast on with the first track they take you by surprise. Vocalist Becca Macintyre vocals range from sweet Paramore-esque pop punk to angry abrasive metal roars, as they range from angular Math-core to what I can only describe as geek metal. A mix of classic metal riffs with refreshing modern fret work. They have a wonderful stage presence and look completely at home, cracking out track after track of noisy, technically wonderful and surprising music. For a such young band they put many to shame and the crowd love every second.

Once the other bands equipment is cleared away your left with quite a bespoke industrial set up, with a variety of speciality scaffolding and lighting rigs and it soon becomes apparent why they are there. As expected Enter Shikari‘s light show is something special, and you’ve got to give bands like this that extra little bit of credit for putting some time into the ambience. The crowd tonight, as I imagine they have been on every date of Enter Shikari’s latest intimate tour, become absolute maniacs and bow to the wishes of front man Reynolds as they blast through the techno wizardry.

Reynolds’ bouncing off the walls shows that this band aren’t out of energy after ten years of gigs, and its great thing to watch. Enter Shikari produce an enticing mix of old and new, from fan favourite ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’ to ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ and the crowd are addicted to the nosie. They have what seems to be an endless amount of energy, whether its being lifted from the crowd or given to them, this room is electric. They finish with track ‘Zzzonked’ which brings this fast paced and astounding gig to a climactic end. It’s been about as musically varied as it could have been and surprising in the best sense, showing Liverpool there are some new greats on the rise and some old titans to compete with.

Venue: O2 Academy Liverpool
Support Band: Marmozets, Hacktivist, Neck Deep

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