Two days with Shikari

Enter Shikari’s debut album ‘Take To The Skies’ come out when I was in the last couple months of year 8 at high school in suburbia Birmingham. I spoke to Rory C on the tour bus from Manchester to Glasgow at about 4am I told him how big the record was in our school and that despite me being a brutally rigid ‘punk rock’ kid (only listening to the likes of Rancid, Sex Pistols etc.) at the time I had a soft spot for their debut album. It was a guilty pleasure. I’d whack it on my iPod Mini on my way home from school listening to Mothership when nobody else was around. Rory was genuinely surprised that the album was so big in the small town of Coleshill but I guess it was only the start for Enter Shikari. I joined them for two dates on their UK tour in Manchester in Glasgow. Carnage ensued…

I arrived at the Manchester Academy shortly before soundcheck and was quickly told by Keith (tour manager/general nice guy) that Shikari have fans come into every single soundcheck to watch the band tell the sound engineer that they need their monitors up or that their in ears are fucked…and obviously also to give an intimate experience for the fans that had already been outside of the venue for hours at was only 2pm. I shot the band sound checking, meeting the fans a quick little set up portrait shot:

The day passed by fairly quickly. Bumped into photographer friends (big up Giles & Tom) who were shooting the show, hung backstage whilst Rory remixed their tune Slipshod for a DJ set they had booked in on the night and generally just chilled. Soon enough 9.30pm come around and the live show began. I’d only ever shot Enter Shikari at Leeds Festival main stage and at their record release show at the tiny Rose Theatre in Kingston a couple of months ago so I was excited to see a full production and set by the boys. Live shots and post-show pictures are below:

Shortly after the show the band turned their attentions to their DJ set across the road from the venue. I danced on stage for a bit and clambered onto the bus with the band a few hours later. Glasgow bound. The conversation with Rory C (mentioned in the first paragraph) began, Rou started telling our writer, Barry, how he had turned down Question Time despite their best efforts to get the front man on the programme and everybody else chatted amongst themselves. Later, I crashed on a sofa in the bus and woke up in Glasgow not quite sure how many hours of sleep I had gifted myself.

I had never been to Barrowlands in Glasgow before but had heard tonnes of great things about the venue. I made use of the showers straight away, put some clean boxers on and went to get a curry for breakfast. The band rose from their DJ hangovers in the early afternoon by which time I had given Keith a list of photographs that I needed to get for NME (who I was shooting an on-the-road feature for). We organised some time for me to be with the band to get a variety of portrait shots inside of the venue and some candid shot of the band getting ready for the show. Again, the live show began. And again, carnage ensued…

The night ended in a rock club in Glasgow (which name escapes me, sorry) with the band for their ongoing DJ sets. Now, I’m big fan of grime music and when Rou dropped Solo 45 I couldn’t help by throwing up my gunshot fingers and shouting “THERE AIN’T NO HIDING FROM ME” as the chorus come in. I said laters to the band that night, slept in my hotel for not very long and got the train back to London the next morning to fly to Chicago the following day for the Catfish & The Bottlemen feature I wrote a few days back on this blog.

See the double page feature in NME this week (the issue with Pete Doherty on the front cover with Enter Shikari on the right hand side sandwiched between Catfish & The Bottlemen and Laura Marling. You can get the magazine at any decent newsagents in the UK and you can download digital editions online if you’re abroad and can’t find the magazine.

Big shout to Zoe, Keith, James, the Shikari boys and everybody that put me on the bus for two days with a band that isn’t a guilty pleasure anymore. Big love.

J x

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