I had a wild time at the Vegan Camp-Out. To read my impressions on the festival as a whole please see my review. This article focuses on the Enter Shikari presence that was there.
I have seen Enter Shikari a variety of times throughout the years. The first time being in 2008 when they supported Jay-Z and Linkin Park at Projekt Revolution. In the last 11 years I have always been constantly impressed by the energy that they bring to their shows no matter the venue. Shikari Sound System is the Electronic alter-ego of Enter Shikari and was the main reason I was interested in going to the Vegan Camp-Out Festival as they were headlining the main stage on Saturday night.
As I queued up to get into said festival the frontman of Enter Shikari Rou Reynolds mentioned on Twitter he would be filling the “super special guest” slot on the music stage performing a solo acoustic set a few hours before their S.S.S performance. If you were an Enter Shikari fan and happened to be at the Vegan Camp-Out you’d probably had a few good reasons to be excited.
Rou took to the stage to a busy (but not packed out) Vegan audience ready to hear his acoustic vibes. It was a truly solo show, just himself, a guitar and a laptop (producing a backing beat for certain songs). This was never clearer than when he strummed for 30 seconds before realising his guitar was in the wrong tuning for one of the songs. In betwixt songs he was making sure the tuning of his guitar was perfect and adjusting various settings on the laptop.
Opening up with Stop The Clocks, he played a variety of songs from Enter Shikari’s back catalogue in an acoustic manner (minus their first album). Each song he played sounded very thought out for the acoustic set and was not just a quick thrown together job. When you hear songs like Constellations or Arguing with Thermometers on the studio album it makes you wonder how the song came to be created, when you hear it played live with just an acoustic guitar you get to really appreciate how raw the songs are.
Toward the end he played a cover song in the form of David Bowie’s Heroes and Rou’s interpretation of it was simply beautiful. He conveyed the perfect range of emotion to make it such a touching song and this is from someone who is not a massive Bowie fan. The way he played that song will stick with me for a long time into the future.
He closed with Live Outside then midway through seamlessly changed to Wonderwall by Oasis mid-song. Here he split the crowd in two not for a wall of death but for one side to sing the chorus to Live Outside and the other to sing Wonderwall. It was a standout moment for the whole weekend, showing that the Shikari frontman is good at creating songs in a variety of ways, whether it be via band, DJ set or acoustically.
After a long day of covering the festival in a professional manner and also having a few drinks in a quite unprofessional manner it was time for the headline act of Shikari Sound System and their scheduled two and a half hour set.
For those unfamiliar, S.S.S – to put it simply – are Enter Shikari behind the D.J decks mixing a variety of songs (both their own and other peoples) and occasionally jumping onto the microphones to join in on vocals and act as the hype men. The turnout for this set was the busiest I saw the whole weekend, it was the first night of the Camp-Out and people were merry from the food and drink and ready to party with their Vegan brethren.
It was a mash-up of all genres from Dance, Hip-Hop, Rock and Funk. One moment you could be listening to an Adam’s Song by Blink-182, the next would be a dance version of an Enter Shikari song followed by System of a Down’s Chop Suey and then a Funk/Soul mash-up. It sounds nonsensical on paper but Rou and Rob did an excellent job to ensure that the crowd were still dancing two hours deep. If you were a few drinks past it and up for a dance – or dare I say a mosh – then they catered perfectly for that.
Enter Shikari’s presence was felt strongly at the Vegan Camp-Out even though they did not officially play there! Both sets were very different from one another but ultimately proved that the lads from E.S are musically creative in whatever genre they choose to create in. Using every genre not as a crux b ut a challenge to overcome and make good music with. If you get a chance to see Enter Shikari in any capacity it would be worth your dollar and their short time at the Vegan Camp-Out proved this.