Teenage Cancer Trust: Kasabian [Review]

Royal Albert Hall 
Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP 

Evening Standard rating David Smyth’s rating 
Evening Standard rating Reader rating 


THROUGH his curation of the annual week of concerts in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust, Roger Daltrey is not only doing an almighty good turn. He’s also firming up a direct lineage of unruly rockers from The Who down, including multiple TCT attendees Oasis and Stereophonics, and now Kasabian.
The latter are understandably keen to insinuate themselves into such exalted company, guitarist Sergio Pizzorno’s thin beard and mercurial air giving him something of the young Pete Townshend, while swaggering singer Tom Meighan’s awe of the Gallagher brothers can sometimes sink from friendly admiration to mindless mimicry.

If they hadn’t already planned to support Oasis at their stadium shows this summer, Kasabian’s third album could be the one to lift them out of their Manc masters’ shadow. Colourfully titled The West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum and due in June, it’s appropriately unhinged and easily their most adventurous work, leaping across a huge canvas of styles, often in the same song.
When Oasis promised their last album would be “psychedelic”, this is what it should have sounded like.
On stage at the Albert Hall, some of the more innovative moments seemed harder to replicate, despite the addition of a second guitarist, a keyboardist and a trumpet player to the regular foursome.
The monster riff of opening track Underdog lacked its full savage crunch. Next single Fire didn’t burst from its tense verse to its double-speed chorus with quite enough explosiveness.

However, the relentless drive of Fast Fuse had an excess of pep, while the lazy, Kinksy strum of Thick As Thieves might be different enough to reach fresh ears beyond their bulging fanbase.

They already seem to be attracting a better class of hooligan, to judge from the staining soaking those near me received when somebody hurled a glass of red wine instead of beer.
Sensibly, they weren’t excessive with the new songs, instead playing a greatest hits set that included the glam rock groove of Shoot The Runner and the overwhelming chorus of Empire.
LSF closed the evening with the energised crowd chanting with enough passion to rival any football match or rendition of Hey Jude.
Meighan, a true rock’n’roller down to his blue suede shoes, was cocky as ever, frequently coming to a halt atop the drum riser, arms outstretched. He has increasing justification for such self-belief.
With new songs that take them to a new level, Kasabian are earning their place at rock’s top table.


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