Reading Festival. Main Stage. Enter Shikari. This formula has made for some of the most memorable and chaotic sets of recent years, on multiple occasions. The crowd is huge, the sun is shining and the bands production is up and ready, we wait patiently for the boys to appear.
When the opening of crowd pleaser ‘Solidarity’ bursts out over the PA system the audience lose their fucking minds and the annual ‘Reading Shikari Party’ is well underway. Pits open up in every corner of the main stage arena and crowd surfers are atop of the seething mass that makes up the audience here today. ‘The Paddington Frisk’ and its short and sweet burst of techno hardcore is up next and keeps spirits and chaos levels at a maximum with ‘Destabilise’ following on this is surely going to be nothing but a resounding win for the St Albans based 4 piece.
Then all of a sudden, everything goes a bit flat. ‘Radiate’ means that orchestrator of carnage Rou straps on a guitar and over indulgent speeches on the state of the world at the moment and the best thing about the UK (the NHS) swerves this usual momentous occasion into a public service announcement that sucks all the fun out of the set. Groans from onlookers can be heard and confused faces says it all, this is not the time nor place to be educating thousands of people on current state of affairs.
Fortunately Shikari are one of the finest live bands on the planet and get back into gear with fan favourite and festival staple anthem ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’. Everyone loves the triple clap part too much to give a shit about anything else right now guys. From then on out it’s business as usual and the boys bring it back to scrape a win home in the end. We’ve seen Enter Shikari countless times over the years live and at R&L and its always a highlight, however this time felt a bit out of place and a little exhausted. Luckily they have an arsenal of unique tunes and a devastatingly good live show in their pocket.