Stop The Clock Tour 2019 | 03 February 2019

As the Enter Shikari’s The Stop The Clock Tour UK leg draws to the close. A tour that has, we can surmise, been demanding even challenging in varying extents for the bands involved. Those that have followed the tour around the UK have experienced a variety of atmospheres, adventures and accidents along the way.

Manchester’s Academy fills up fast tonight, with three bands on the bill it would be usually more of a gradual influx. However, despite the Sunday night factor, the audience was eager to enjoy the full experience and arrived in good time for the first support band.

Black Peaks started off giving the audience and the building a decent shake in the way of a hello. Will Gardner’s scowling delivery is enthralling even without the equally absorbing lyricism of the band’s songs. Eternal Light and The Midnight Sun are both magnetic tracks and should be seen live for ultimate enjoyment of both. Despite the ear macerating progressive post-rock hardcore provided. Black Peaks bestow this upon us with expertise and cleverly crafted melody.

When they’re bad, they still deliver a show, a slightly awkward and unsettling one but a show none the less. However, tonight Palaye Royale are immense, intense and at their lascivious best. Sebastian Danzing, conquering illness, wields his Gretsch wildly. Sweeping and stomping across the stage delivering a wealth of authentically charged riffs full of enthusiasm and swagger.

From the moment Remington Leith hits the stage with the opening line of Don’t Feel Quite Right he demands the audience’s attention. His voice almost reaches the point of strain as he works at captivating fans, fascinating the uninitiated and quite probably demanding the detractors to not get sucked into their sound. Taking flight a couple of times leaping from stage to the barrier, trusting the crowd to assist him in remaining atop the metal bar, truely breath-stealing moments, well exectuted.

It would be easy, for me, to dismiss Palaye Royale rather than champion their talents. I could simplistically claim their aesthetics to be contrived, their confidence as narcissistic and highlight their past misdemeanours; be they truthful or not. It’s easy to score clicks that way. However, it wouldn’t be truthful, because, despite some minor technical flaws, the tempestuous attitude of Palaye Royale’s rhythm-and-blues and thrillingly turbulent delivery truly shined out tonight: simply put electrifyingly entertaining.

Enter Shikari’s metal tinged post-hardcore is amalgamed with every other genre you can list at some point in some track and they’ve brought a deft mix of tracks on this tour. The mood, in the room, builds from uplifted to ecstatic jubilance within seconds of The Sights.

Enter Shikari have taken on the rare, additional work of establishing a quadrophonic sound for this tour. The approach to delivering music this way means it envelopes you like the perfect hug from a favourite human: even when you’re losing yourself to Labyrinth and Arguing with Thermometers. Along with an incredible light show and stage set up that positions makes each member a focal point as well as allowing them to spontaneously interact with each other with both beautiful and amusing results at varying times.

Chris Batten overseeing bass, synth and vocal responsibilities with seamless skill and with a joyously carefree friskiness that’s both captivating and charming. Not to forget the heart-bursting delivery of Hectic’s bridge; Oh, if I could kidnap that feeling The one that melts all fears from your mind I’d make no demands, no ransom. Sheer bliss even before Rou Reynolds completes with a contrasting emotional confirmation.

Reynolds springs about the entire stage, using every muscle, his freedom of movement demonstrating a range of emotions and adds a further layer to the band’s creativity. Why would you only dance like no one’s watching when you could be dancing like Rou Reynolds dances? Giving the stage a chance of recovery by heading to the access balcony Reynolds delivers stunning versions of Gap in the Fence and Shinrin-Yoku. Providing an alternative, viewpoint for the audience. Rob Rolfe, Rory Clewlow along with Batten more than capable of keeping the stage suitabley simmering with their musical deftness.

Manchester’s quick-fire round* comes about all too quickly (*four songs in eight minutes) and everyone digs deep to bring as much energy as we all power through Sorry You’re Not a Winner, The Last Garrison,… Meltdown and the Reso remix of Anaesthetist. With the ten-year anniversary of Common Dreads the band have been dipping into their debut album for tracks, tonight we get to scream Squad Up! as we are hit with Zzzonked.

The encore brings the time for the final draining of everyone’s physical and emotional energy. Renyold’s, solo, exquisitely and demonstratively delivers Take My Country Back with such a passion it is as powerful as Airfield in terms of identifying with the narrative. Honestly, that is something that most Enter Shikari songs do – elicit strong feelings, feeling of commonality and of being less alone in the world with suc thoughts.

As the final confetti cannon rains, it’s pale blue pieces, everyone takes the opportunity to share in a full venue singalong to Live Outside before they exit back into the cold Manchester air.

Enter Shikari stand well outside the parameters of what is expected and considered possible in terms of output, live delivery and as a band in the kind consideration, they show their supporters. And they do so with an overwhelming amount of energy, charismatic style and a vast amount of emotional intellect. Splendid stuff.

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The Stop The Clocks Tour continues to Europe starting in Ukraine on 1 March 2018. Stay informed about all you need to know about Enter Shikari via their official website, Facebook page and Twitter from where they tweet as @ENTERSHIKARI.