Enter Shikari @ MTV Music Week 2021, Budapest

Words: Miljan Milekić

“It feels good to finally be outside the UK!” announced Rou Reynolds to a crowd of Budapest’s A38 a couple of songs into the show, and damn I felt those words. Ever since the pandemic started, we haven’t left our town, let alone the country, until this night. “For how many of you is this the first show after the plague?” he asked a bit later, and by the reaction, it became clear how much people missed live music. Not seeing a concert since March last year, I once again shared the feeling with many in the room. And it was amazing to have Enter Shikari on the stage to break the streak.

Over the years, Enter Shikari not only established themselves as one of the best live bands in the world but also, because of the topics they cover and messages they share, as one of the most important. So it wasn’t the slightest surprise this show was instantly sold-out. Especially after the massive last year’s album ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible,’ which became an instant fan-favorite. Actually, songs from the latest record were the majority of the set, with seven of them being fired off from the stage at various points throughout the night.

The night was opened by Budapest’s own Sattelites, who, similarly to what I remembered from them from the Rise Against show back in 2018, provided a solid, yet not too memorable metalcore set, before the headliners, led by a wall of energy that is Rou Reynolds, took over the stage and quickly made it their own. It took no more than the first few tones of ‘The Great Unknown,’ the show’s opener, for the crowd to go off, and it only got hotter from there. Constantly balancing between a rock concert, hardcore gig, and a rave, the band was firmly in control of the room, yet nothing felt forced or scened. At every moment, the exchange of energy felt natural and long overdue.

The band was easily switching gears, from aggressive heavy-hitters such as ‘Destabilise’ and ‘Sssnakepit,’ to danceable singalong anthems like ‘The Pressure’s On’ and ‘Satellites**,’ while the crowd was accepting the game in full and the movement never stopped. Massive circle pits were quickly replaced by dance moves and vice versa, while the stage dives and crowdsurfing didn’t stop at any point. The band may have been used to playing much bigger venues at this point in their career, but it’s clear that they still have much love for the intimate venues and have fun in them.

Having bangers such as ‘Juggernauts,’ ‘Anaesthetist,’ or ‘Rabble Rouser’ in their arsenal surely didn’t hurt the band, with Rou being all over the place, often finding himself on various pieces of stage equipment. He didn’t miss the chance to mention the ongoing COP26 convention about climate change in Glasgow, where the band recently played, and to call us all to do our best and get more involved, as politicians and leaders still can’t grasp the seriousness of it, despite all the positives being made. Of course, the speech served as an intro to 12-years old but still very current ‘Arguing With Thermometers.’

Legendary ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’ kicked off the late part of the show, causing a frenzy in the crowd, followed by ‘Crossing The Rubicon,’ played live for the second time ever. After that, it was the trio of ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi,’ ‘Mothership,’ and ‘Solidarity,’ that saw the band off the stage for a few brief moments. The encore only showed how much more fuel the band has in their tanks, kicking off with an intimate rendition of ‘Stop The Clocks,’ played by Reynolds alone, before the rest of the band joined him on stage. Once again, Shikari returned to their latest release with destroyers in the shape of ‘T.I.N.A.’ and ‘{The Dreamer’s Hotel},’ followed by a huge singalong anthem ‘Live Outside.’

Almost two decades into their career, Enter Shikari look as fired up as ever, ready to tackle any stage they have. Their music outgrew any genre they might be put into, and their messages have more importance than ever. And if their success means they will be part of big commercial events such as MTV Music Week, even better. Sixteen-year-old me would be thrilled to know I was here anyway.

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