mon 23/09/2019

Kasabian, Brighton Centre, Brighton | reviews, news & interviews

Kasabian, Brighton Centre, Brighton

Kasabian, Brighton Centre, Brighton

The Leicester band open their UK tour with their usual crowd-winning panache

Kasabian: the lads' band with a little extra

“LSF” is unarguably a monster of a song. In fact, that whole of Kasabian's self-titled 2004 debut album was a cracker, but seeing the entire sold-out Brighton Centre, balconies and all, on their feet, hands aloft, as one, singing the wordless backing chorus of “LSF” is quite a thing. Even when they stop, and five of the six band members wander off, skinny rake guitarist Sergio Pizzorno stays back and conducts the crowd. He keeps walking away from the lip of the stage, teasing and then turning round and throwing his arms in the air, leading them onwards and upwards. The crowd don’t stop singing after he’s left.

Kasabian are good value. They’re regularly tarred with the moniker “lads’ band”, and it’s true there’s a good quantity of moshing geezers in their twenties, all sweat, high-street gear and cropped hair, but there is also a much larger percentage of their girlfriends than you’d get at, say, a Specials gig, as well as older gig-goers and even families with children. Kasabian have been lazily handed Oasis’s mantel in print by heritage mags but the Leicester band have delved far more experimentally into pop history than the Gallaghers, and are also entirely unafraid of electronic dance music.

Kasabian dropped all their early talk of communes and anarchy in favour of becoming a band that Q readers could like

It’s a cold, rainy Monday night outside but as lead singer Tom Meighan encourages the crowd at one point, “A Monday can turn into a Friday night – Brighton, step the fuck up!” Brighton does and Meighan is full of this sort of stuff. He doesn’t look like a rock star. He dresses like one, with his shades and expensive parka thing, but he looks like a bloke you’d meet down the pub, unshaven, slightly puffy, pugnacious, with a quiff. Pizzorno, on the other hand, does look like a rock star. Lanky as a Tim Burton animation with Mighty Boosh locks, a skin-tight tiger-print top and the kind of parka a sorcerer might wear, with black feathers all round the hood.

New guitarist Jay Mehler looks like a rock star too, although he appears more hugely excited than icily hip. Perhaps coolest is bassist Chris Edwards, dressed down in black, hardly moving, looking like he’s had a very late night and is ready for another one. He’s very good too, as is hard-thwacking drummer Ian Matthews. There’s also a keyboard player and an occasional trumpeter, but I don’t know who they are.

Kasabian really hit their stride with “Where Did all the Love Go” although, with its revolutionary references to “change a-coming”, “pavements flowing with blood” and “children of the future”, it reminds us how fast Kasabian dropped all their early talk of communes and anarchy in favour of becoming a band that Q readers could like. Never mind, though, they became a very feisty, enjoyable band that Q readers could like. Before “ID” a giant arch of neon sticks bursts alight around them and they move next into “I Hear Voices” from their fine new album Velociraptor!. At the song’s heart is the suitably decadent refrain, “My soul you can have it ‘cause it don’t mean shit/ I’d sell it to the devil for another hit”.

I could do with another hit too. As an experiment I went to the gig stone-cold sober. I did this once before years ago, but that didn’t really count as it was an African band in Southampton Guildhall playing to worthy middle-Englanders in plastic seats. Hardly a ball like this. Who needs lucidity when you could have euphoria? Sure, sober my attention was drawn to details such as the way, in the Lennon-esque psychedelic slowie “La fée verte”, Pizzorno’s voice fluffed the high notes but this is a rock’n’roll gig and no one gave a monkey's or, I'm pretty sure, even heard - except the single sober dude taking notes, the only one who wasn’t dancing at full tilt. That’d be me. I shall wait at least another decade before I try such a pointless exercise again.

The lights rise a bit for their final number so the band can see the moving heft of the place, the massed ranks of enthused bodies. They look very pleased with it and so they should

Anyway, that aside, after the Kasabian-on-autopilot of “Take Aim” (although the lads liked that one and bruised figures were pulled from the mosh-pit by the security) we’re into “Club Foot”, another early number pulsing with baggy techno threat. If only more big guitar bands could so effectively assimilate tough electro into their sound without sounding forced or totally naff. By contrast, “Empire” is a glam stomp and the first one where the whole place starts going properly berserk, something heightened further when “Fastfuse” mutates into Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” aka the theme to Pulp Fiction, replete with spectacular distorted guitar from Mehler and the climactic cornet solo from that nameless trumpeter. Which brings us neatly back to where we came in for, after the roof-blowing “LSF”, the band disappear. The massed singing of the "LSF" chorus doesn’t and Kasabian return minutes later with it still reverberating round the large arena.

The encore opens with the gnarly techno-guitar hammering of recent single “Switchblade Smiles” that, straight after “LSF”, reminds how the new album returns to their effective original template. This is followed by “Vlad the Impaler”, hailed on the release of 2009’s West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum as a Krautrock tribute but today sounding like a ballistic off-cut from Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR. The lights rise a bit for their final number so the band can see the moving heft of the place, the massed ranks of enthused bodies. They look very pleased with it and so they should. “Fire” sends everyone bananas one final time. It’s a spirit-raising blast of a song although the chorus isn’t as singalong as Meighan clearly wishes. No matter. It was a successful and thoroughly enjoyable opening night to Kasabian’s UK tour, even for those of us who foolishly chose to adopt the bloodstream of a Mormon for the evening.

  • Kasabian are on UK tour until 31 December

Watch the video for Kasabian's new single "Re-Wired"

If only more big guitar bands could so effectively assimilate tough electro into their sound

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Comments

Wonderful Kasabian... ♥ Velociraptor... Lovely, and very fair & honest review it seems. (From a Mormon mind-set...)

the keyboard player is ben kealey and the trumpet player is gary alesbrook (check out who this guy has played for!) this is off his myspace profile :- HAVE BEEN INVOLVED ON THE SESSION CIRCUIT FOR MANY YEARS PLAYING WITH ARTISTS SUCH AS KASABIAN (TOURING AND PERFORMING ON THE ALBUMS “EMPIRE, WEST RYDER PAUPER LUNATIC ASYLUM AND VELOCIRAPTOR”), RAPHAEL SAADIQ, NOEL GALLAGHER (PLAYING ON HIS NEW SOLO PROJECT "HIGH FLYING BIRDS"), LYNDEN DAVID HALL, SCISSOR SISTERS, K T TUNSTALL (PLAYING ON THE NEW ALBUM “TIGER SUIT”), INDIA ARIE, POLLY GIBBONS, SUPER FURRY ANIMALS (TOURING AND PERFORMING ON THE ALBUMS “MYNG, RINGS AROUND THE WORLD, PHANTOM POWER AND HEY VENUS”), TOM JONES, GOMEZ, BABYBIRD, ZABRINSKI, GORKY'S ZYGOTIC MYNCI. . . I HAVE ALSO PLAYED ON SOUNDTRACKS, RECENTLY PLAYING ON “LONDON BOULEVARD,” THE NEW COLIN FARRELL, KEIRA KNIGHTLEY MOVIE...ALSO I’VE PERFORMED ON LATER...WITH JOOLS HOLLAND, MTV, VH1, THE MERCURY MUSIC AWARDS AND THE BRIT AWARDS. . . I HAVE PLAYED MOST OF THE MAJOR FESTIVALS AROUND THE WORLD.

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