Kasabian are quite simply one of the best live bands around. Their enormous sound and euphoric uplifting performances combine the pomp of the Stone Roses and Primal Scream and the showmanship of Faithless. Put simply they rock!
Thus it was that Gig Junkies Head honcho and I, found ourselves at the salubrious surround of De Montfort Hall, in Leicester – Kasabian’s home town – on the opening night of their summer tour to celebrate the release of their new album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Coincidentally it was the same season that their beloved Leicester City were crowned Division 1 Champions. It was gonna be messy!
First up, the support, which came in the guise of fellow Leicestarian and soon to be star Jersey Budd.
Just like Kasabian we’re big fans of Jersey Budd at Gig Junkies, which only added to our excitement for the gig and as with previous performances Jersey didn’t fail to deliver. Kicking off with upbeat ‘Visions of You’ Jersey rocked his way through most of his debut album Wonderlands to the delight of the ever filling venue. Track of the year ‘She Came Back’ was the highlight for me this is a massive song, and pulls on the heart strings every time you hear it… Splendid.
Every time we see Jersey Budd we’re more and more impressed. His powerful vocal is becoming stronger, he generally looks happier and more confident on stage and you can just tell he’s having a great time. He’s living the dream. Our only critique of Mr Budd is that he should have taken centre stage instead of leaving room for his backing vocalist Julie E Gordon. Impressive she is, but as she only sang on the last 2 songs, it would have made sense for Jers to stand in the centre of the stage instead of being over on the left. You need to believe it Sir, you’re gonna be a star, so you need to take the limelight!
Tom Meighan, Kasabian’s uber cool long haired front man is a natural born leader. Donning a red jacket and CND t-shirt, he led his troops – Serg, Chris and the boys out on to the stage, their Gladiatorial arena, ready to do musical battle, to the backdrop of bright strobe flashing lights and electro beats.
Proceedings kicked off with ‘Vlad the Impaler’, a rousing, stomping, driving tune with hypnotic qualities that had the already ecstatic crowd close to boiling point. This audience frenzy – orchestrated by Meighan from his lofty perch at the front of the stage – then ramped up a level as the driving bass line of ‘Shoot the Runner’ kicked in. Having VIP passes we were lucky to have front row seats of the balcony, and from here we could see how much of a kick the boys were getting from the mayhem of the crowd in front of them. This was fiercely reciprocated by the audience, all of whom responded with whoops and a cheer of delight at the front man’s every salute. At times it wasn’t clear who was performing – was it the band singing to the crowd, or the crowd singing to the band? Who cares, the atmosphere was simply euphoric as the band and the audience celebrated one another in appreciative unison.
Interspersed with old classics, like ‘Reason is Treason’ and ‘Processed Beats’ not only were soon to be hits like the Door’s-esq ‘Fire’ and mesmerising ‘Underdog’, but so were football chants such as ‘Blue Army’ and ‘Champions’ to celebrate their local sides recent success. This was a celebration, and like it or not, you were gonna enjoy it.
The exhausting gig ended with ‘Doberman’ a spaghetti western of a tune, complete with atmospheric trumpet and all. The chant of ‘We Want More’ followed and Kasabian duly obliged. ‘Stuntman’ was followed by Serg’s own version of Candy Statton’s ‘You’ve got the Love’ which led perfectly into ‘LSF’ – the bands anthemic finale.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing Kasabian, you really should. Neither dance band nor indie, but a glorious concoction of the two, their live show is something to behold. It’s an exhilarating event and one in which those lucky enough to be in attendance are honoured to be present. They plan to play to over a million people this summer and I guarantee there won’t be many who are disappointed.