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21st April 2023

Live review: Enter Shikari at New Century Hall

Enter Shikari gear up for their newest album release at the final Manchester show of their residency tour
Live review: Enter Shikari at New Century Hall
Photo: Enter Shikari — Charis Griggs @ The Mancunion

Enter Shikari’s A Kiss For The Whole World UK residency tour has been nothing short of a resounding success. Selling out every date across five cities in February, March, and April, their final Manchester stop-off at New Century Hall proved that Shikari are unstoppable live.

With each leg of the tour featuring different acts, support for this third and final set of dates consisted of Tokky Horror and Higher Power. First up were Tokky Horror, whose brand of electro/punk/hardcore made for a perfect opener. Immediately bounding onto the stage with bundles of energy and charisma, vocalists Ava Akira and Mollie Rush made easy work of winning over the crowd, with great rapport with both each another and the audience. Set highlights included the infectiously lively ‘Jazz Music’ and newest single ‘Toilet’, both from upcoming EP Kappacore.  

A left-field cover choice came in the form of a mash-up of Black Eyed Peas’ ‘My Humps’ and ‘WAP’ (of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion fame). Bizarre in theory, in practice it was riotously fun, going down well with a somewhat bemused crowd. After finishing with ‘Girlracer’, the bar was set high for the next act.

Higher Power followed next, opening with a bang with ‘Rewire (101)’. One of the faster-paced tracks of their set, it’s possible that their grunge-tinged hardcore – though brilliant for what it was – suffered from having to follow in the footsteps of the frenetic energy of Tokky Horror. As a result, the crowd’s energy seemed to stagnate a little at some points, though Higher Power swung things back their way with their closing offering, ‘Seamless’. With gritty guitar riffs and a brilliant breakdown near the end of the track, its echoes of grunge icons Deftones made it a standout song. Ending on a high note, the audience was left ready for the headliners to take to the stage.

Following a short break during which the crowd were treated to some singalong 80s classics over the speakers, the lights dimmed in preparation for Enter Shikari to begin. Coming on stage to a backdrop of an impressively choreographed lightshow – the light production for the whole show was outstanding, with lasers and perfectly-timed colour changes aplenty – Shikari launched immediately into ‘(pls) set me on fire’. Taken from their upcoming album A Kiss For The Whole World, releasing April 21, it’s a promising sign of things to come and was excitedly received by the crowd.

The fan favourite ‘Juggernauts’ made an early appearance following ‘System…’ and ‘…Meltdown’, making it clear that this was to be a setlist full of heavy-hitters. Returning to their debut album, 2007’s Take to the Skies, for ‘Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour’, they then turned again to their most recent with ‘It Hurts’, demonstrating once more the consistent quality of their back catalogue. 

Though there weren’t many parts of the show that could be considered slow, ‘satellites* *’ offered a quieter moment, a perfect track for the crowd, in fine voice, to sing along with vocalist Rou Reynolds. This introspective interlude was short-lived, however, followed by the comedic ‘Slipshod’ and the appropriately titled ‘Hectic’.

The opening track of Shikari’s forthcoming album, ‘A Kiss for the Whole World x’, made its live debut on this leg of the tour. Speaking to The Mancunion last month, guitarist Rory Clewlow named this track as one he was most excited for people to hear, and it went down a storm with the audience, raising expectations for the album.

A staple of Shikari shows, a hectic Quickfire Round followed: four of the group’s fastest hard-hitters in seven and a half minutes. This round included a remix of signature track ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’ and guest Cody Frost contributing to renditions of ‘The Last Garrison’ and ‘Bull’. 

‘Bloodshot’ was the last of A Kiss From The Whole World’s singles to feature, with the main set rounded off with the anthemic ‘Live Outside’, from 2017’s The Spark

Returning for an encore to the audience’s deafening chants, Enter Shikari ended the night with the iconic ‘Stand Your Ground; This Is Ancient Land’. A blistering closer took the form of the sensational ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’, a perfect conclusion to a frenzied show that proved Shikari are a staple in the live scene for very good reason.

Enter Shikari’s new album A Kiss For The Whole World is released April 21.

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