Live Review: Enter Shikari at O2 Academy, Leeds

After the release of their sixth album Nothing is True & Everything is Possible in 2020, Enter Shikari finally returned to the O2 Academy in Leeds on their delayed UK tour. With them were London rock duo Nova Twins and local alternative rock band Dinosaur Pile-Up.

Review & Photos by Sophie Grace

It’s never easy going on stage first against a dry audience, but this hardly seemed a challenge for these genre-bending ladies. Mixing modern hip-hop with classic rock, Nova Twins were refreshingly different and highly successful at getting the audience off their phones and moving.

They played their newest single, Antagonist – a catchy anthem with key lyrical parallels to The Runaways’ Cherry Bomb, as well as popular tracks from their 2020 album Who Are The Girls?

From refreshingly different to childhood nostalgia, listening to Dinosaur Pile-Up was like listening to all your favourite 90s rock bands in one. One minute their music seemed to take heavy inspiration from The Beastie Boys, the next it was like something straight out of a Weezer album.

However, it’s clear the audience had a special place in their hearts for this local group, especially when their most popular song Back Foot played.

The band also had a heart-warming story to share. After their drummer Mike caught covid and had to drop out of the tour, they called upon a Belgium-based drummer who responded in hours, and was on a plane to London ready to start their tour in a matter of days. What a hero.

Finally, it was time for Enter Shikari to take to the stage, but not before some pre-show anticipation. An overhead tannoid informed people that their ‘journey into the unknown’ would begin shortly, followed by a minute by minute countdown.

So it was no surprise when Shikari started their set with THE GREAT UNKNOWN, the first song on their newest album. After that, an energetic mix of old favourites and new tracks played in succession, including a dubstep version of Anaesthetist.

One of their most pivotal moments was during Satellites* *, another song taken from the new album. Against the catchy drumbeats, the song tells a moving story about not being able to express affection in public. As the song hit its climax, the lights erupted into rainbow hues and multicoloured confetti showered down on the stalls as a nod to the struggles the LGBTQ+ community faces.

Another hero of the night was Enter Shikari’s own Chris Batten, who had just recently returned to the stage after having to isolate due to covid in the first leg of their UK tour. In high spirits and energy, it was clear Chris thoroughly enjoyed being back on the stage and supporting Rou on backing vocals alongside Rory C.

After an hours set, Shikari left, the stage went dark and it seemed that we had reached the end. However, shortly after, frontman Rou came back on, guitar in hand to play a moving acoustic version of Constellations. Then, the band reunited for an incredible send-off including Live Outside and Dreamers Hotel.