Stand your ground: Enter Shikari shakes the Paradise

By Scott Delisle, Muse Staff Writer

Tuesday night at the Paradise proved that weekends are not the only time Boston can have some fun. Three aggressive bands took the stage: At the Skylines, letlive., and headliners Enter Shikari.

The night was started off with Huntington Beach natives At the Skylines with a sound combining elements of typical post-hardcore and breaks of metal, a potent combination kicking off an intense show. Shortly afterward, the five-piece post-hardcore group, letlive., took stage and effectively warmed up the already rowdy audience. Throughout the set, lead singer Jason Butler hopped and bounced across stage, even singing from the balcony, which he later jumped from. Despite not having too large of a fan base in the crowd, letlive. effectively got the blood flowing and built the energy for the main attraction of the night.

Photo by Scott Delisle

Hailing from Hertfordshire in the east of England, Enter Shikari combines elements from a whole range of musical genres, ranging from their post-hardcore roots to electronica melodies and ending with seductively powerful dubstep drops. Together, these elements formed a powerfully emotive sound over which lead singer Roughton “Rou” Reynolds provided politically charged vocals. While this was their first show in Boston as a headlining act, the four-man operation is edging up on its 10-year anniversary, and if their most recent album “A Flash Flood of Colour” is any indicator, they haven’t lost an ounce of energy with time.

The set began with “System…/…Meltdown,” a two-track intro that turns from a calm commentary on the growing faults of society into a tumultuous release of frustration and anger. The next hour sandwiched their newer work with popular tracks of their previous two albums like “Sorry You’re Not a Winner,” “Mothership” and “Solidarity.” Notable tracks like “Gandhi Mate, Gandhi,” a frenzied outburst of political discontent in which band members danced across stage (and rolled on it) built the energy of the crowd to a fever pitch, with all but a few in the audience jumping to the pseudo-rapping of Rou Reynolds.

This not being the first time I’ve seen Enter Shikari live, I was prepared for a set without the typical momentary relaxation of a slow song, but the acoustic guitar was brought out for a few moments to play a new track, “Stalemate,” yet another political offering that slowly builds into a cathartic yet uncharacteristically tame conclusion. Without a doubt, Tuesday’s appearance displayed every aspect about Enter Shikari that has solidified the band as a beacon of pure activist rage in the post-hardcore scene.

Photo by Scott Delisle

From the frequent but not overdone crowd-surfing journeys by guitarist Liam “Rory” Clewlow to the unrelentingly charged yet witty vocals such as “Shackleton is rolling in his grave” to “Arguing with Thermometers,” an explosive song lamenting our addiction to oil. Enter Shikari’s energy-driven outpouring of discontent makes for an overwhelming experience unique to only a few bands, one of venting of grievances against a system “that produces war, poverty, collusion, corruption, Ruins our environment and threatens every aspect of our health,” from Gandhi Mate, Gandhi.

With such unending intensity, you could see how a band like Enter Shikari might not have staying power over time, but just like their friends of the Occupy movement, they are likely to come back with another offering that’s even louder, angrier and catchier than the last.

Photo by Scott Delisle

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