Enter Shikari are known for relentless touring and delivering uncompromising shows. So a couple of live albums from
The series of official Enter Shikari Bootleg live releases continues with
The vinyl format is a rather delicious two-disc release for each album in a couple of stunning limited numbered colour ways; the stuff of wet dreams for
It might as well be said I don’t like live albums a few bootlegs from attended gigs and Morrissey’s Live25 (ok, yes, it’s a DVD so not countable). It’s a combination of reasons; sound quality, purchase repetition and those microseconds of immersion breaking deadness between tracks. However mostly its retroactive jealousy I rather have gone to the gig than be listening sitting on my sofa or on the bus. So, a quandary is in effect here Enter Shikari hell yer! Two live albums to review – imagine a substantial eye roll right here.
Starting with Take To The Skies. Live in Moscow. May 2017. Bootleg Series Vol. 9. The recording was made with more than 6000 fans in attendance at Russia’s Adrenaline Stadium in Moscow during the band’s fleeting #TTTS2017 tour which celebrated the 10 year anniversary of their debut album.
Not rendering me grimacing instantly, I’m several tracks in, before I remember it is a live album. Some slight key hitting issues in the fading moments of Anything Can Happen In the Next Half Hour are instantly forgotten as a heart-racing version of Labyrinth hits. Frontman Rou Reynolds explaining “We only realised how relevant these lyrics have become, just the other day. We had no idea it would be the case 10 years ago when we wrote this song and the lyrics are very simple and I need you all to sing them as loud as you can We will break the walls down” Every one of that 6000 strong audience can be clearly heard obliging the request.
Fully invested now the 80-minute run time flies by and there are more than a few high points. An explosive Hoodwinker, an achingly beautiful Adieu and a sweetly lush Redshift. The twelve minutes, I assume to be the encore, of Ok, Time For Plan B and Appeal 2 sound like a cacophony of sheer pandemonium. It must have been a thrilling experience and there is the ‘I want to experience that’ pang again.
Speaking of the releases Reynolds explains “I can’t believe we’re at volumes 9 and 10 of our Bootleg Series already. It’s nice to be able to share these snapshots from across the years, especially as 2017 was such a strange year for Shikari shows. Kicking off the year looking backwards a whole decade – not something we really do all that often – and ending the year with a new album and tour of the biggest rooms we’ve been in so far. It’s good to be able to reflect that with these releases.”
Moving on to Live at Alexandra Palace 2 Volume 10 there is a slightly increased weightiness to the sound, adding warmth and closing the vastness, expected from a venue like Alexander Palace. There is a more grandiose feel, than Live In Moscow, and again it was much easy, than anticipated, to get lost in the tracks.
“Greeting carbon-based life forms” hails Reynolds “We are Enter Shikari. We control pitch, rhythm and light to control your emotions.” Indeed, Enter Shikari are, masters of passion creation as they unleash a tidal wave of hard hitters; I’m utterly swept along. Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour, Take My Country Back, The Last Garrison and Radiate. My entire lounge is Alexander Palace standing area and I’ve got it to myself (if you don’t count the coffee table) bloody good job I’m not on the bus.
The album does not weaken at any point maintaining enthusiasm and intensity throughout. By the time the Quickfire Round concludes with Antwerpen and Reynolds heralds the next track with “This one’s vicious and this one is called Zzzonked” I’ve nearly lost my voice and certainly confused the neighbours.
An afternoon spent with Live At Alexandra Palace 2 and Take To The Skies. Live In Moscow has changed my mind a little about live albums. While I’m not going to run out and start stockpiling. I can certainly see there is more merit within them than I have given credit and these are certainly replay worthy.
Live At Alexandra Palace 2 and Take To The Skies. Live In Moscow are released on 15th February 2019 and are available for pre-order in various bundles now: link here. Be informed with all the things you need to know about