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THE ANATOMY OF SHIKARI: INTRODUCING ONE OF THE UK’S, IF NOT THE WORLD’S, MOST ELECTRIFYING BANDS

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The good ol days of 24 hour music videos on MTV, radio stations devoted to rock and metal — for the most part are long gone.
Today, with a music industry overrun by social media, sharing sites like Spotify and myriad other avenues for exposure, it has become increasingly difficult, and in many ways almost impossible, for bands to ‘stand out’; particularly when it comes to the ‘harder’ music, like rock and metal.  These days, it’s all about electrifying live audiences from moment one.
And few, if arguably any, bands do it better than this one.
Enter Shikari is…difficult to describe.  I’m not besties with the band by any stretch.  I have, however, had the pleasure of meeting them in situations outside the “I am interviewer/you are interviewee” setup.  They’re low key, humble and incredibly appreciative of, if not bewildered by, their fame.  They also appear to be the kind of musicians who don’t appreciate being labeled.  They do what they do.  And they hope you like it.  They actually hope you love it.  But if not, to be perfectly frank, I don’t think they give a shit.  This isn’t an exercise in popularity.  This is their job, their passion, their “raison d’etre”. 
That said, if you’re a publicist, or a manager or…a journalist, you’ve got to sell them; capture them.  And the way you do that is by culling that perfect little description, their ‘summary’.  The dreaded label.  Pardon me, boys, but if I (an admitted newbie when it comes to full time rock/metal journalism) had to describe them, I’d say they’re a mix of classic hardcore metal, electronica with a heavy (but not heavy-handed) dose of true punk.
Drummer Rob Rolfe, bassist Chris Batten and guitarist Rory Clewlow are three of the most passionate performers you’ll ever see on stage. Their instruments are more than just tools to make cool music; they’re extensions of each man.  Night after night, they work every bit of themselves into the show — juggling playing, singing, harmonizing, growling with extreme physicality.  The first time I saw them, in a dusty barn at the RockNDerby Festival, I stood stunned at the spectacle before me:  Clewlow, guitar in hand, not missing a note literally stepping from the stage on to the crowd.  Not into the crowd.  ON TO THE CROWD. Their shoulders, to be exact.  Guys, girls — all completely oblivious to the fact that their shoulders were like rolling ocean waves, carrying their surfer around and around.  While this scene unfolded in the crowd, Batten balanced singer Rou Reynolds screams with absolutely gorgeous harmonizing, while Rolfe smiled and sneered all the while pulverizing his drumset.
And then there’s Reynolds.   A frontman who is one of the most electrifying figures in music today.  Maybe ever. With his button down oxford shirts and worn sneaks, watching him perform is kind of like watching a boarding school boy being zapped with high volts of electricity.   And loving it.  Reynolds literally bounds up, down, sideways, in, out — racing thru, against, with the crowd and navigating rollercoaster-like vocals that go from growling to melodic with complete ease, even grace.
The Enter Shikari experience is, like the band, hard to describe.  It’s hard core political, social, emotional, fun, frenzied and furious.  In a word:  Mindblowing.  They’re gaining traction overseas.   It’s time for YOU to help them here.
I caught up with the band at several stops on their latest US tour, including this one at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge.  Enjoy…
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