Tonight Enter Shikari and Hot Milk take to the stage in aid of War Child charity as part of BRITs Week 2019. War Child is a brilliant charity helping raise money for children around the world affected by war. Tonight’s gig is in support of Maryum who had to flee the Syrian war in the middle of the night leaving her belongings behind including her favourite doll. She now lives in a refugee camp, War Child’s youth group are giving her a safe place to play. She dreams of one day going home and seeing her doll again. Last year the BRITs Week music events raised £650,000 for this vital charity which is changing the lives of many children. O2 have also been incredibly generous helping to fund the shows allowing more money to be raised by the charity, which is pretty awesome of them! There are also limited addition Sparky t-shirts being sold at the gig tonight where the profits go to War Child, they also sold out which is brilliant.
’London lets be fuckin’ havin yuh’ Hot Milk come onto stage, they’re the embodiment of teenage angst, the music a cross over of pop and punk but far from your stereotypical pop punk, really not fitting that label at all. They describe themselves as emo power pop which makes sense. Every song has its own character which is refreshing to hear. Things slow down part way though the set with a shout out to those who have struggled being themselves, the song is emotional with lead singer Han Mee showcasing her vocal ability sounding raw and passionate. The tone changes for ‘Are you alive’ with 1975 vibes but with its personal twist. Their set was strong from start to finish and the perfect opener for Enter Shikari.
When you put Enter Shikari in a tiny 550 capacity venue of course it’s going to be utter carnage but I don’t think anyone was prepared for just how good it was going to be. The band come on to ‘The Sights’ the crowd going manic, they stay that way through the entire show. During ‘Labyrinth’ Rory Clewlow jumps onto the crowd standing on top of everyone whilst still playing the guitar, it was mental. Chris Batten joins him doing the same during ‘Destabilise’ however slightly less elegantly as he falls onto the crowd rather than stands. ‘Gap In The Fence’ works so well acoustically on Rou Reynold’s gorgeous nylon string guitar. I thought I’d seen most things at gigs but when someone starts playing the introduction to ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ on a kazoo, I’ve now seen it all, it was hilarious.
Half way through the night Rou rolls his ankle but that doesn’t stop him erratically dancing to every song, how he keeps it up all night I’ll never know. Shortly after this Chris runs out of Gin and Tonic, offering triple the price of the drink in a donation to War Child, ending up with a massive pint glass full. Rou comments ‘When alcoholism becomes a kind of morality’ . This then takes us into ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’, Rou worried he was going to mess the words up the first time but pulled through really well, the crowd suddenly having a new burst of energy. The ending of ‘Revolt Of The Atoms’ is as chaotic as ever as Enter Shikari create a feeling of panic to go with the lyrics ‘Everything is crumbling’
Never more important was the ending of Havoc B, the crowd screaming back ‘All this killing is obscene, shut down the war machine’ very fitting considering who the gig is in aid of. Airfield is as tear-jerkingly beautiful as ever, Rou performing without his piano tonight due to the mountain of stairs they would have had to have carried it up. There’s a real sense of community at Enter Shikari gigs especially when everyone is singing the lines ‘You’re down on your luck you’re down but that don’t mean you’re out.’
A human pyramid forms before ‘The Paddington Frisk’ Chris climbing to the top of it, Rou saying ‘Shout out to the unsung heroes at the bottom.’ The pyramid soon becomes a circle pit around Chris as the song kicks in fans running round, I got dizzy just watching. ‘Stop The Clocks’ is as catchy as ever, almost everyone already knowing the words despite the song not being released yet. If this is an indicator of what the next Enter Shikari music will be like, damn it’s going to be good.
If you thought things were crazy before, think again. It’s time for the quick-fire round. Four songs in Eight minutes at an ever increasing beats per minute. The songs in the quick-fire round are ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’, The Last Garrison’, ‘Meltdown’ and finally the Reso Remix of ‘Anaesthetist’ the crowd getting increasingly more manic as each song goes by.
‘Hello Darlings’ Rou says popping up at the side of the venue alone with his electric guitar. He plays ‘Take My Country Back’ everyone singing along in chorus before he rejoins the rest of the band for Juggernaughts. Tonight’s setlist has been a perfect mix of old songs, all the way back from Take To The Skies in 2007 to last year’s The Spark. Enter Shikari ends the night with ‘Live Outside’ a song about kicking anxiety up the arse, according to Rou, The crowd goes crazy one last time, it is a brilliant song to end the set. Everything about this gig has been perfect, from the energy delivered by the band on stage, the sense of community from the Shikari family in the crowd to the music which has been phenomenal.