On Good Friday, fans of varied genres flocked to New York City’s Gramercy Theater to witness what would be quite an intense night. Fans joined together to watch Equal Vision’s I The Mighty and A Lot Like Birds perform alongside Long Island favorites Stray From the Path and UK quartet, Enter Shikari. Each band is characterized in their own unique sound and it was lovely and exciting to watch all four bands unfold into their own chaotic form of musically energy.
I The Mighty took the stage at 7:30pm to a half packed venue. The crowd took the gentlemen well as they played their professional set of seven songs. The first half of their set was off their first LP, Satori with favorites like, “Four Letter Words” . The second half of their act had songs off of their EP, Karma Never Sleeps.
They did treat the crowd to their latest single “Playing Catch with .22” off Connector, their soon to be released 2nd LP. During this song, front man Brent Walsh’s vocals ebbed in and out of something reminiscent of Thrice’s Dustin Kensrue. Walsh certainly has come into his own lyrically since Karma Never Sleeps and his vocals are definitely something to keep an ear out for. With vocals from Chris Hinkley there to help guide him along with Ian Pedigo’s humming guitar riffs and Blake Dahlinger as an unstoppable force on the drums, Connector will surely take the I The Mighty gentlemen where they should be in the music industry.
A Lot Like Birds took the stage shortly after and they did not disappoint their fans. The band looked a little stuffed on the Gramercy Stage, as there are 6 members. Vocalists Kurt Travis and Cory Lockwood did their best to display their erratic energy on the stage while making sure that everyone had enough room on their side to unleash their pent up creative intensity. They stuck mostly to their songs off of No Place and Conversation Piece, but it was the right choice as fans were screaming for more. When “Vanity’s Fair” came on, the crowd erupted from the same flow of power that was radiating off the stage. One thing I love about A Lot Like Birds is that they have created their own niche of music and it works in so many ways both on their records and during a live performance.
When Stray From the Path came on, I knew to keep my distance from the stage once I was done shooting. Long Islanders commuted from the North and South Shore to the city to come see one of their beloved hardcore bands. Drew York was a live wire as he commanded the crowd to move, running all over the stage and motioning for them to come closer. They surprised everyone with their own rendition of The Ramones’, “Blitzkrieg Bop” and in their own way it just worked with their intensity and love for getting the crowd hype. They were the perfect choice to place on stage just before Enter Shikari took over.
Before Enter Shikari came on, their stage was set to blinking lights and a backtrack. Retro game show tracks played and as each minute passed, the track would announce how many minutes were left until the game started (“10 minutes! Start stretching!”) It almost reminded me of a Hunger Games tribute; Enter Shikari announcing how much time was left until the chaos began. When the time began and the members filled the stage, drummer, Rob Rolfe made sure to walk over to the front of the stage and threw up the symbol for their new album The Mindsweep with his hands. He smiled slyly and walked over to his set and picked up his sticks and poised for the start of their set.
Front man Rou Reynolds began his monologue from the first track off of The Mindsweep. As he ended, he inhaled deeply and bellowed, “I AM THE MINDSWEEPER” before kicking off the instrumentals to the song.
Enter Shikari was indeed focused on representing their newest work, The Mindsweep, but they did make sure to appease their New York fans. After a few Mindsweep songs, the gentlemen decided to switch it up and they pulled out “Juggernauts” which sent the crowd into frenzy, not to mention the brilliant transition of the song into “The Last Garrison.” Nothing amped the venue up more than when Rou declared, “This is for our fans who have been with us for years” and the first notes for “Solidarity” began.
Rou and bassit Chris Batten had a great time jumping into the crowd to perform where they could. At one point Rou was on the floor in the middle of the crowd, arms above him, knees bent like some crazed God demanding for a circle pit. He wanted his sacrifice of blood, flesh and bones and by God did he receive it. Enter Shikari lightly entertained the crowd here and there with random bits of chatter like how many miles they traveled exactly to be there. Rou did take the time to speak his mind on how grateful they were to play their own music to such a crowd, where bands like One Direction didn’t deserve their attention. “They only want you to worship them. They want you to idolize them. They don’t deserve you. They are spoiled brats of the younger generation. They are called One Direction for a reason.” From here, they closed out their set with “Slipshod” to perfectly clinch their disgust in snooty behavior.
It was enjoyable to watch Enter Shikari play a good chunk of The Mindsweep, bits off of Common Dreads and some off of A Flash Flood of Colour. Enter Shikari has always known how to take care of their fans, but to grow together while still sending out the strongest messages that inspires their vast amount of listeners. Their choice of I The Mighty, A Lot Like Birds and Stray From The Path were a wonderful collection to this tour, as it showed that you can build your own organic sound and have the backing of a trusting label instead of succumbing to the greedy hands of those who wish to exploit their “findings”. Hubris is the excessive pride of man, and there was none of that during this show.
Photos by Heather Glock