Enter Shikari

support Milk Teeth
author LL date 16/12/18 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Just about a year ago, the British post-hardcore powerhouse Enter Shikari returned to Denmark for the first time in years and played a surprisingly cohesive set despite the erratic nature of their music - especially considering the latest addition "The Spark" that took them in a poppy, indie-rock-like direction. For a latecomer to the band like myself, as well as for older dedicated fans, this put a solid line under the fact that they're still a relevant band to follow and one that's evolving succesfully while still being able to integrate their entire career into one show and not leave anything behind. Thus, it is a joy to see them return to our small country again so soon, this time with a new setlist. Tonight marks their last show before Christmas this year and as such they seem ready to give it their all together with their support band, Milk Teeth.

Unfortunately, we have no photos for this article as we were told at the door that we did not have access after all. Only the band’s own photographer was on this evening and we were given the option to buy photos - you can, however, check out their gallery here via their Facebook page

Milk Teeth

The trio Milk Teeth is from the UK, just like the evening's headliner, but they're decidedly more punk in their sound. With a classic minimalist set-up of drums, bass, and guitar, they attack us head-on tonight with grungy songs, primarily collected from their two EP's, "Go Away" and "Be Nice", both released last year. Their bassist is also their lead singer and while the drummer tells us to send extra love her way because she's ill as f*ck tonight, she delivers her melodic lines with pretty much the same mix of angry spite and apathetic melancholy as on recording. While she's in charge of the cleans, their guitairst contributes some screaming, and that works especially well for contrast for instance in a song like "Lillian" that provides us with an early highlight in the set. Even though two out of the three of them then have microphones, it's the drummer who gets up repeatedly between songs to address us, when he doesn't just scream from behind his drum kit in the center of the stage. Perhaps this dynamic is due to the aforementioned illness but nevertheless, he's way more energetic than the two others on stage here. The echoing and minimalistic "Prism" and super catchy "Owning Your Okayness" come across great later on in the set, but it's a bit of a shame that the guitar is consistently low in the mix. The more aggressive "Fight Skirt" and the very heavy new single "Stain" actually come off most boring tonight because of this lack of guitar that leaves us with their raw and simple drum+bass dynamic. Still, up front they get some people jumping along and bopping their heads to the beats, and while they don't lift us entirely off the ground, it's a fine and tight 30-minute warm-up set that might work even better in grittier, more tight surroundings.

Enter Shikari

After a period of soundchecking and old-school hits played on the venue's speakers, the evening's main attraction take the stage and immediately get the audience dancing and, to my surprise, singing along loudly, to "The Sights" from their newest album. It's always a joy to be at gigs where the audience is as dedicated as they are tonight, and although it gets increasingly rowdy through the set with moshing breaking out especially for the hard-hitting "Arguing With Thermometers" as the fourth song, the party level remains pretty much constant for the next 90 minutes. The sound mix is great and the band hammer on with a surprisingly long setlist that, however, turns out to include a number of remix or medley versions of songs. It's an open question whether it would be more satisfying to hear one full song instead of three half ones, but for the happily moshing and dancing part of the audience at least, it doesn't seem to matter too much.

The stage set-up is the same as last year, with frontman Rou Reynolds' custom-built synthesizer featured on the cover art of "The Spark" placed front and center, and the radar display still on the backdrop. And yet, it's a setlist featuring many of the older songs that we might have missed last time. The group's second album "Common Dreads", that has it's 10-year birthday next year, features heavily on the setlist, just like we get almost every single song from their most recent release "The Spark" as well. It's great to see that there's pretty much equal support for old as well as new songs tonight, and of the new ones especially the groovy "Rabble Rouser" and the more wacky "The Revolt of the Atoms" lift spirits during the set. The more emotional "Shinrin-yoku" featuring trumpet by Reynolds and not least the ballad "Airfield" followed by the poppy "Undercover Agents" provide some softer breaks for the dancing crowd and underline the band's lyrical focus on fighting for survival when things are hard emotionally. Of the older ones, especially "Hectic" makes an impression, just like the later mash-up of "Gandhi Mate, Gandhi", "Mothership", and the Faithless-cover "Insomnia" really lights a fire under the mosh-pit.

The tour itself is named after a new, very poppy song called "Stop The Clocks" that appears towards the end of the set. Since there is already footage of it circulating online and since its cheesy lyrics are pretty easy to follow, it gets it's fair share of singalongs and some dancing during its wobbly synthesizer riff and cheeky guitar solo as well. The traditional quickfire round ends the regular set with four songs in eight minutes - all songs that I personally would have loved to hear in longer versions, but then again, they make sure that the crowd give their all in a final bout in the moshpit. This time we get "Sorry, You're Not a Winner" that seemingly has every person in the room clapping the iconic three claps, followed by personal favorites "The Last Garrison" and "...Meltdown", and lastly a kind of lacklustre remix version of "Anaesthetist".

As the band reenters the stage for an encore, chants calling for "Juggernauts" that has featured on recent setlists are already ongoing, but the band laughs and announces that they'll be playing a more rare one, namely the fast-paced "Rat Race", but judging from the moshpit, it doesn't have as many fans here as they seemed to hope. Finally, "Live Outside" picks us up again, though, and the show ends in great unified fashion with everyone singing along once more. All in all, this show cements Enter Shikari as one of the very best live bands I have experienced these past few years but setlist-wise, their last visit fit me better personally. And even then, it is a solid gig by a band that sets the bar high from the start and consistently lives up to it, although not every single song hits home. If you long for mosh-raving with like-minded peers and you haven't been to these two most recent Danish shows, I can only strongly encourage you to get out for the next one because the only thing that would improve the mood among the fans is even more people to have fun and party with.

Setlist:

  • 1. The Spark (intro)
  • 2. The Sights
  • 3. Step Up
  • 4. Labyrinth
  • 5. Arguing With Thermometers
  • 6. Rabble Rouser
  • 7. Halcyon
  • 8. Hectic
  • 9. Gap in the Fence
  • 10. Shinrin-yoku
  • 11. The Revolt of the Atoms
  • 12. Gandhi Mate, Gandhi / Mothership / Insomnia (Faithless cover) / Havoc B (medley)
  • 13. Airfield
  • 14. Undercover Agents
  • 15. No Sleep Tonight (Interlude)
  • 16. Stop The Clocks (new unreleased song)
  • 17. Sorry, You're Not a Winner / The Last Garrison / ...Meltdown / Anaesthetist (Reso Remix) (quickfire round)

— Encore —

  • 18. Rat Race
  • 19. Live Outside
  • 20. The Embers (outro)

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