Leicester’s heroes Kasabian come home [Review/Photos]


Local heroes Kasabian played three sell-out shows in Leicester at the weekend – Gemma Peplow was there.

For the thousands of Kasabian fans who saw the band’s frenetic, sweaty homecoming gigs at De Montfort Hall, the fact the boys do not see an array of shiny awards winking at them from the mantlepiece must seem absurd.

It is not bias because they’re from Leicester. This bunch of friends – who met at Leysland High School, Countesthorpe – are rewriting the rule book when it comes to putting on a show.

Frontman Tom Meighan has the rare ability to whip a crowd into a frenzy of stratospheric proportions.

Sure, they picked up the Best Live Act award at the 2007 NME Awards and have received a handful of nominations, but this does not do them justice.

Watching the standing crowd at De Montfort Hall from the lofty vantage point of the front upper circle, I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never seen anything like the passion homegrown fans have for the local heroes.

It’s the opening show of the “three-night party in Leicester”, and pals The Hours and fellow Leyslander Jersey Budd provide a nice warm-up, with Jersey now also a firm favourite among the city faithful.

But when Kasabian take the stage the theatre explodes.

Surrounded by flashing lasers, the band opens with the pounding, dirty bassline of Vlad The Impaler, a track from their new album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.

The fact it’s not as well known as their older material makes no difference to fans’ reaction – they are jumping and punching the air from the outset.

Then it’s straight into Shoot The Runner and Reason Is Treason.

“Did you miss me?” shouts Tom, and the crowd roars back its appreciation.

Cutt Off is next, followed by single Fire – out today – which invokes a second surge of jumping and the first of many crowd-surfers.

Favourites are played throughout, constantly peppered with chants of “Blue Army” and Tom screaming his appreciation for his home city.

Processed Beats and Empire are mingled with new material Fast Fuse and Empire, and for The Doberman, the last song of the main set, Tom is down on his knees.

Anyone who wasn’t on their feet during the show is now, as the boys leave the stage in darkness, leaving the best still to come.

Foot stomping, clapping and shouts of “We want more,” fill the air until the lads return, with a slow build-up to Club Foot, followed by Stuntman.

“Leicester, we wouldn’t be here without you,” roars Tom. “You’ve done it. Champions. I want to thank you all, you are Empire.”

With that, guitarist Serge Pizzorno breaks into Candi Staton’s club classic You Got The Love, before fans’ favourite LSF takes over.

After a truly exhausting hour and 40 minute set the band takes a bow and leaves to rapturous applause.

Speaking to the Leicester Mercury before the second gig on Saturday, Tom said: “Last night was amazing, unbelievable, the best response we’ve had in a long time. I think it’s cos we’ve come home after so many years.

“It was proper emotional and it makes us so proud. I could see how pleased people were to see us.

“I don’t think Leicester’s seen anything like it for a long time, and neither have we. I was exhausted by the end of the set.”



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