Review by John West
Photo by Simon Bamford
For Leicester psyche dance rockers Kasabian this is the third gig of a run of pre -festival warm ups. They stride on stage as they raise their hands to the baying crowd launching into the anthemic Clubfoot. The crowd are immediately up for it, as are unfortunately the beer monsters who are out in force tonight. It simply beggars belief that people who will pay good money to just throw it into the crowd at random, e specially as tonight it doesn’t come cheap.
The audience are entranced and become as one with their band. A people’s band who took the mantle away from Oasis a long long time ago, which if you were at any of the latter’s big gigs (Heaton Park, Wembley) prior to their split you would have to agree; Kasabian have returned to reclaim their Empire, I’m afraid no Beady Eyes can take that from them tonight.
Serge is at command central urging his troops to deliver tonight and to give the audience exactly what they’ve come for. As would be expected in a run of warm up gigs, the set is choc full of favourites from across all three albums with the treat of a couple of newies too. In rapid succession we get ‘Where did our love go’, ‘Underdog’ and ‘Shoot the Runner’ leaving the audience gasping for breath as the guys dance and flow with the rest of the crowd, hitting the familiar and cheeky Deep Purple’s ‘Black Knight’ riff.
It’s arms aloft and cheers from all as they are greeted by Tom saying they feel electric tonight, from the back to the front and across the balconies no one is motionless. We are then treated to one of the new songs tonight ‘Velociraptor’ which gives the audience time to take stock and listen to something unfamiliar. I found to have a more poppier direction than their, however it’s a big thumbs up from the crowd and the band appear satisfied with this performance. ‘Cut Off’ follows taking the audience into more familiar territory as they sway to its hypnotic groove and sing along; it’s all swaggery vibes from everyone involved.
The atmosphere is bought down a level as the band switch to a more acoustic mode adding trumpet to ‘Take aim’ from the “West Rider Pauper” album followed by the waltz like ‘Thick as thieves’. These songs present a different angle from the band; a mellower side to their usual raging beast. They’ve given themselves and the audience a bit of a rest too, before its time to get loose, get looser...!
In a blink they crank it up again with levels reaching fever pitch as they launch into their ‘Empire’; hitting their stride with ‘Fast fuse’ and ‘Vlad the Impalor’. It’s a triumphant return to the stage for Kasabian and the crowd are loving every minute of it, the band themselves are elated too. There seems to be a tangible connection with the audience and none more so when the firm favourite ‘LSF’ is delivered. It’s arms aloft once more, punching the air as the audience go trance like, swaying to the beat, the troops are on fire. These are no lost souls tonight and Kasabian leave the stage as the crowd keep singing the LSF refrain demanding more.
They return for an encours with another new song ‘Switchblade smile’. It’s a monster of a tune and I’m sure it will go down a storm at the festivals with its pulsing rhythmic eastern tinged groove. Following this with a slightly tongue in cheek but superb cover of Donna Summer’s “I feel love” by Serge, Kasabian shows how ecletic the bands are on the influence front, and that they’re not ashamed to show it either. This is something I’ve always admired about them, a wonderful sense of musical heritage and appreciation no matter where it’s coming from. Finally Tom returns to the stage for ‘Fire’ and its barmy time again; the audience are left in no doubt that Kasabian are bringing their music back to their Empire! We have been privileged to have seen them in more intimate surroundings tonight, next time it will be the arenas for the new album and the summer festivals. You’re in for a treat guys.