After spending a couple of hours outside for the St. Paul Winter Carnival (which just proves that Minnesotans are bat shit crazy since they stood outside in subzero temperatures for a parade and other outdoor events), I was more than happy to escape into the warmth of a venue. Of course leaving my friends was a rough decision but knowing that I was going to see one of the few bands left on my bucket list made the decision a bit easier.
I got into the venue just as the first act was starting up. Milk Teeth is a British group that has been getting a whole lot of buzz in the past couple of months. Even with that buzz, I had yet to check out their music and was a bit surprised when I got settled in and started listening. Their music leaned much more towards the pop-punk side of things whereas the other two bands on Saturday night’s line-up were a bit more intense. Regardless, it was clear that Milk Teeth had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Singer Becky Bloomfield had a sense of innocence in her voice that was beautifully juxtaposed by the more intense vocals of Billy Hutton. Regardless of whether or not that’s what I was expecting, it was a nice addition to the night and after seeing them live I’m quite aware of what the buzz is all about. These guys are still a new band having just formed in 2013 but it’s clear that the passion is there and I would expect many more tours through the U.S. in this band’s immediate future.
Up next was Single Mothers– a band that I was excited see and had completely forgotten I had seen before. As soon as I saw singer Andrew Thomson take the stage, I was transported back to a show at The Triple Rock in October where I was completely enamored by Single Mothers’ performance. Unfortunately, when you do this night after night, bands and band names blend together so, as I mention, I had completely forgotten I had just seen them but once I put two and two together I was more than excited for another chance to see this Canadian group.
Single Mothers has a way of being completely intense and in your face without being abrasive which sounds like it should be easy but it truly is an art. Andrew has a hard time standing still while singing giving their set a sense of energy that Milk Teeth didn’t have. The crowd’s energy matched that of the band and within just a couple of songs, the young audience couldn’t contain themselves anymore and broke into a sweaty mess. Single Mothers played through song after song with a sense of energy that made them impossible to ignore. Regardless of who you wanted to see during last night’s show– you were watching Single Mothers throughout their entire set and you were enjoying it too.
Closing out the night was a band that I had never thought I’d be able to see live nor did I really want to. Enter Shikari has a very sequenced and over-produced sound to them. I don’t mean that as a jab at all but more in the way that that’s their style and is the reason I listen to them on a daily basis and I wasn’t quite sure if that would translate well into a live show. I went into last night with low expectations but a sense of intrigue as well. Ten minutes before their set, voices started echoing through the speakers. A hush came over the crowd as we listened to a conversation regarding a secret mission that was happening– in ten minutes. The extravagant countdown to Enter Shikari’s set was exactly what I had been expecting from them. The hush hoovered over the crowd through all of the light and sound tests for this secret mission and we listened as the two characters explained what was going to happen as the one minute mark neared. A bit over the top? Sure. But I didn’t care– I was about to see Enter Shikari and that’s all that mattered to me.
As soon as the four members took the stage, the crowd erupted in a way they had yet to do previously throughout the night. As soon as the music kicked in– it was game over. I was shocked, stunned– Enter Shikari sounded exactly how I wanted them to sound and they were giving the crowd more energy that I could have ever imagined. It was next to impossible to take my eyes off singer Rou Reynolds as he danced around the stage in his zebra print button-up shirt with a sense of fury that was enough to get everyone in the crowd moving around. I have to be honest with you, I quickly got so wrapped up in their live show that I forgot I was going to have to review it this morning. It was one of those shows where everything was just so perfect that I didn’t want to be bothered with taking notes on my phone or anything like that so forgive me for not remember absolutely everything. I was completely lost in the moment– the way you should be at a concert.
Enter Shikari powered through their fourteen song set proceeded by a short encore with an undeniable sense of passion. It didn’t matter if you were able to sing along to every song like majority of the crowd or not– if you were in Amsterdam Bar & Hall last night, it was next to impossible to just stay on the sidelines for Enter Shikari’s set. The music of ES is a unique blend of rock, post-hardcore, electronicore (which they pioneered), and metal. At times there are sinister screams over EDM beats and, at other times, there’s a sense of softness behind Rou’s music that pairs nicely with classic rock drum beats. It’s that sunniness that has kept Enter Shikari a relevant name in the game since their conception in the early 2000’s.
I didn’t know what to expect when walking into last night’s show. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high just to be let down but at the same time, I was hoping for the best. Enter Shikari is one of those elusive bands for me that I’ve never been able to catch live but maybe that’s for the better. Their complicated music had me worried about how it would translate to a live show but their set was one of the best sets I’ve ever seen.
If I may be so bold to say– Enter Shikari’s set on Saturday may be in my top thirty of all time (and that’s truly saying something).