Kasabian – London Brixton Academy – 15/8/06

Kasabian @ BrixtonSet List – ‘Shoot The Runner’, ‘Reason Is Treason’, ‘Sun/Rise/Light/Flies’, ‘Empire’, ‘Cutt Off’, ‘Me Plus One’, ‘By My Side’, ‘Last Trip (in flight)’, ‘Butcher Blues’, ‘Processed Beats’, ‘The Doberman’, Encore -‘Club Foot’, ‘Stuntman’, ‘L.S.F.’

As a warm-up for the V Festival, Kasabian keep it real by playing afairly intimate (well, as intimate as 4500 can get…) gig in the capital, and you soon realise what the Brixton Academy was built for – to mark one of the most triumphant gigs of 2006. It’s been a while since Kasabian played these shores, and tonight is a chance to test out some of the new material found on upcoming LP ‘Empire’ in front of an adoring crowd. Having just released tour dates for later in the year, they could’ve easily plumped for a bigger venue – but hey, this isKasabian we’re talking about.

After an enjoyable set from The Frattellis (though in all honesty it wouldn’t have mattered to me who supported) tension starts to build, and the masses start to cram their way to the front. It’s that desperate to get as close as possible that I catch one guy urinating in an empty glass so as not to lose his space, and yes… there were a few people who saw you do it! Top work though!

Kasabian @ BrixtonThe lights dim and the crowd roar, but this is only a tester – some final checks (from our old friend Rick) take place then it’s all systems go. To kick off, Kasabian break out the 70’s tinged ‘Shoot The Runner’, a definite future release if ever we’ve predicted one. A little bit Goldfrapp, but actually good! Serge dedicates this to the people of Leicester, and you see a few loyal hands rise from the crowd. A still bearded Tom has lost none of his swagger, and a tour of America with the equally subdued Oasis has surely paid off (Noel is also here somewhere to mark their return and pay his respects). Dressed in jeans and a red top, he claps and gestures to the fans, bathing in the reciprocated adoration. Back to something old, but ‘Reason Is Treason’ still crashes through your ears like a guided missile. ‘Sun / Rise / Light / Flies’ is a shared vocal number for Tom & Serge which expresses a new found mature edge to Kasabian’s writing & recording.

’Cutt Off’ follows, and is dedicated to everyone who saw them play in Ibiza – the band telling us that they only just managed to get back in one piece. Serge also takes the opportunity of welcoming newest member Jay Mehler to the band, taking the place of dearly departed Chris Karloff. Losing such an influential member, you’d expect something else to be lost along the way, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. 3 new tracks follow, with ‘By My Side’ being the highlight of the new material, taking Tom’s voice to dizzy new heights. It has bigger balls than a rhino, and combines the best elements of debut release ‘Kasabian’ with their new direction effortlessly. ‘Processed Beats’ incorporates a bit of The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ before closing the set with ‘The Doberman’, which sees a lone trumpet player join the boys on stage.

Kasabian @ BrixtonBack for an encore, and it’s to most people’s surprise that ‘Club Foot’ is first up as it’s always been the last number on previous tours. ‘Stuntman’ & ‘LSF’ follow, and after a 75 minute set, that’s all we’re gonna get. Gutted not to hear new track ‘British Legion’ – but I’m sure after a bit of practice this will become a firm favourite for Kasabian fans up and down the country. Tonight has echoes of a local derby football match, and as ‘LSF’ tails off, the crowd continue with “Naaa nana nanaaaaa” for a good half an hour afterwards, spilling with smiles out on the streets of Brixton. Start hibernating now if you’re an unbeliever.

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