Since 2009, at around the same time as The Brit Awards, large and acclaimed artists including, Ed Sheeran, alt-J and Rag 'n' Bone Man have played in small, intimate venues raising vital funds and awareness for War Child. This year, XS Noize decided to find out more about this worthwhile cause and see some amazing music.
So what does War Child do? Their mission is to “protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children caught up in war”. How do they do it? By aiming “to reach children as early as possible when conflict breaks out, and stay on to support them—long after the TV cameras have gone home”. War Child works across many countries including, but not limited to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
As well as seeing the amazing work War Child does, XS Noize also saw Enter Shikari at the tiny, 500 capacity, The Dome in Tufnell Park, London. Tickets for this one-off event were like gold dust. Entrants had to donate to War Child in hope of being picked as a winner in the ballot. Thousands of people tried in vain to see Enter Shikari (but succeeded in helping a good cause), who to date have had four top ten albums, two of which were nominated for awards and the another two triumphed in winning awards. So how did this four-piece from St Albans, Hertfordshire emerge? After four years after their formation, in 2003, “Hybryd” had a theory, a satori or revelation to be more precise and changed their name to Enter Shikari. From then on Enter Shikari became unstoppable.
Following on from Mancunian support act Hot Milk (whose sound composed of a pop-punk cocktail of Alien Ant Farm, New Found Glory and Neck Deep); Enter Shikari came out looking smart in short sleeve shirts and trousers. Frontman, Roughton “Rou” Reynolds impressed with Michael Jackson length black trousers and white socks. The set kicked off with The Sights. The crowd did not need time to warm up. As soon as Enter Shikari started to play, the crowd starting jumping and mosh pits formed. The tempo was fast, loud and thumping. The decibel levels for the majority of the gig were up to eleven. Things got more intense when Reynolds said: “We (Enter Shikari) control pitch, rhythm and light to manipulate your emotions”. The collective crowd adrenaline reached a crescendo when the band played The Paddington Frisk.
Whilst the set was physically intense requiring audience participation; there was diversity in Enter Shikari’s sound. Like Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Reynolds played the trumpet producing brass sounds similar to Beirut. There were occasional dance, grime and dubstep influences (yes Deadpool, at least when Enter Shikari do it, dubstep is still a thing). Furthermore, following the encore, Reynolds came into the audience with the crowds and played with just an acoustic guitar.
From the second Enter Shikari entered the stage, they owned it and made most of The Dome’s intimate surroundings and connecting with the crowd which involved frequently jumping into them. The audience was theirs to command. This was evident in the way fans chanted all the words to their songs (not just the chorus lines) as if they were joined in unison in collective prayer. Enter Shikari more than played their part in making War Child, produced by AEG Presents, BPI and War Child a success. Here is to Maryam, who this show was in support of. Maryam fled the war in Syria and is now supported by “War Child’s youth group (which) gives her a safe place to play, learn and make friends”.
To find out more and to make a donation to War Child, please visit https://www.warchild.org.uk/donate