Kasabian review—raucous electro bounce fills an incredibly huge concertPosted by Mike Schumacher
‘The coat comes off after three songs’ … Pizzorno on stage in Manchester. Photograph: Myles Wright/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock
AO Arena, Manchester
As the band’s terrifying live performance’s new leader, Serge Pizzorno adds fresh funk and soft rock to the group’s signature guitar anthems
The day before Tom Meighan was found guilty of abusing his spouse, Kasabian fired their vocalist, and bandmate Serge Pizzorno rose to the occasion as a suitable substitute. The band’s appearance and spirit have always been heavily influenced by the dark-featured, bearded guitarist, and his 2019 solo album and tour allowed him the opportunity to practice being the frontman.
The notion of playing in a huge venue doesn’t phase the guy who once scored a flawless volleyed goal on live television while wearing winkle-picker shoes. He charges forward wearing a garish, graffiti-covered coat that Liam Gallagher could consider excessive. A signature blend of Prodigy-like rhythms and Oasis bravado, Rocket Fuel from the band’s most recent album, The Alchemist’s Euphoria, provides the volume and sets everyone up for the weekend. It’s Friday, Manchester! As Pizzorno sobs. “Send me to the mosh pit!”
After three songs, the leader takes the coat off and returns to his previous persona—all in black, with a guitar attached to his body—while singing a touch more nasally than his predecessor. He still has enough personality, however, to say things like, “Everyone raise your hands to the sky!” without coming across as cheesy.
Although not everyone may like Kasabian’s rowdy electro bounce, they are a terrifying live show. Bassist Chris Edwards adds the funk, while drummer Ian Matthews adds thundering percussion fills to the electronic music, making Club Foot, Underdog, and Shoot the Runner sound raucously irrepressible. The band’s fundamental sound hasn’t changed in twenty years, although they have included elements from psychedelic to hip-hop. While the new song Scriptvre blends popular pop and soft rock, the guitar anthem Bless This Acid House is reminiscent of an upped-up Stereophonics.
The show is aware of what venues need. The attire of their new guitarist, Rob Harvey, a hooded black cloak resembling that of the Grim Reaper, has a theatrical quality, and Pizzorno isn’t too proud of clichéd “Left side make some noise!” antics. One More Time by Daft Punk transitions into You’re in Love With a Psycho, and the Manchester crowd is delighted by the inclusion of Waterfall by the Stone Roses during an acoustic rendition of Processed Beats. Despite the acid rock phase, the tempo doesn’t really slow down. Treat, one of their more routine songs, is fiendishly animated by Pizzorno’s entrance into the seating sections.
The singer declares, “The vibe tonight is the best I’ve ever seen,” as Empire transforms into a massive mass shout. Before saying that LSF (Lost Souls Forever) is an opportunity to “forget all the shit and pain, and be together,” he makes reference to the status of the nation. We’ve never heard the chorus of the song, “We’ve got our backs to the wall,” sound so strong. By the time they arrive at an impossibly spectacular Fire, the crowd sights of writhing bodies, topless men, and jostling mosh pits seem like they might have been taken straight out of ancient Rome. The dominion of Kasabian seems to be as robust as ever.
At the Dome, Doncaster, on 31 October. Then touring.
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