The Mindsweep Tour
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Ace of Spades; Sacramento, CA
Written by Bryce Hoffman
I’m going to level with you, Internet reader. Prior to this show, I had listened to a grand total of 3 Enter Shikari songs. I know, I know. Why am I the one writing a review on their live show? In some ways, sure, I’m the least qualified person to be writing this piece right now. I’m sure there are other attendees who would be much better suited for this task. I had heard the opening bands before (The White Noise and Hands Like Houses, which I’ll get to in a second), so I knew what they sounded like and there was a level of anticipation in that regard. Enter Shikari was a band I had certainly heard of, but just never really listened to. Until after this show. Look, when you can walk into a show having no idea what the headliner sounds like, and can leave that same show equal parts impressed, energized, and on your phone syncing their latest album on Apple Music so you can listen on the way home, then clearly this is a band worth paying attention to.
The White Noise were the opening band for the tour package, and they immediately set the tone. Energetic, passionate, and cohesive musically, they sought to bring the energy up in the room and keep it going. Within the first few minutes, Shawn Walker screamed out for the crowd to “wake up!” And wake up, they did: there was a near-continuous circle pit and ever-flowing moshing up front for the majority of their time onstage. While
the crowd wasn’t as familiar with them, The White Noise had everyone moving to some capacity by the time they closed out their set.
Hands Like Houses took the stage next, and they were absolutely flawless. They performed one of the tightest sets I’ve ever seen, flowing through each song with such ease, it was easy to forget how complex some of their songs are. Every aspect of their set was absolutely enjoyable to watch, and the crowd definitely shared in my appreciation, singing along and moving nonstop. They primarily played songs off of their recently released album, Dissonants, which is a fantastic release. I was mostly familiar with their earlier work, so I was hearing a lot of these songs for the first time, and they didn’t disappoint.
What happened next was, in a way, indescribable. Like I’ve mentioned, I was dreadfully unfamiliar with Enter Shikari. What became very clear, however, was that apparently I was the only one in the room who felt that way. When the lights went to dark, the crowd roar was deafening. And from the moment the band took the stage and launched into their set, the crowd energy never let up. The band was incredibly tight, mastering each song with a precision and drive that was seriously remarkable. Not to mention, they sounded incredible. Their instrument tones, the raw power of the drums, and the
exceptional vocal range stood out, and it was clear that these guys took their craft seriously. Their energy and raw intensity was absolutely out of control, in all the best ways.
Each element of the show was carefully planned, with some truly impressive production added on to their already fantastic set. It was hard to look away from the band, as a second spent admiring the awe-inspiring light show would inevitably cause you to miss a moment of insanity as the band never stood still. I did some homework after getting home, and was shocked to discover they started around 1999/2000. That’s a long time being in a band and performing regularly, yet from what I witnessed, they attacked each song like they were a brand new band on their first tour. That really speaks to just how
passionate these guys are, and it made their show even more impressive.
Enter Shikari is, in a sense, impossible to categorize. They have managed to create a blend of stadium rock and roll, early post-hardcore, punk rock, and just for kicks, a keyboard and some fantastic production, and have crafted something truly all their own. There is no band like them, sonically or otherwise, and I’d imagine that I’ll be hard pressed to witness a better show that combines tight musicianship, next level production, and absolutely palpable energy. One thing is certain; I may have walked in to this show having no idea what to expect, but I left absolutely buzzing. It’s a rare feeling, and I can say with confidence Enter Shikari absolutely secured a new fan in me.