Kasabian at Brixton Academy
The first of a two-night run in Brixton, this is the tour where Serge Pizzorno steps into the frontman shoes that former lead singer and founding member Tom Meighan was rightfully booted out of for assaulting his partner. Pizzorno is the creative powerhouse behind a lot of Kasabian’s music and this seemed a natural progression.
The English rockers had support from the Skinner Brothers, last seen turning the 100 Club into a dirty sauna in August – so this is a big step up for them. They handled it well: they’re a band who have just been waiting for the venue size to catch up with the swagger. They played an eight-song set, including catchy highlight Away Days and the Kasabian-indebted Mountain High. Zac Skinner, once again in customary flat cap, is a force to be reckoned with. Congratulations to them for getting this gig.
Never knowingly understated, Kasabian took to the stage with typical bombast, Pizzorno decked out in fluorescent trousers and a translucent raincoat as he allowed the audience adoration to wash over him. They kicked off with Club Foot, smoke cannons and all, and the floor of the upstairs bar started to bounce up and down. Brixton Academy is an old building – it wasn’t built for this much sound. Coming into the main arena, the noise hit like a sledgehammer to the face. Never mind 11, the speakers were turned up to “ear bleeding”.
The set reminded just how many great tunes Kasabian have made over the years. This is rock music made to be hollered along to on football terraces: punchy, well crafted and with heart. Like dogs can smell fear, football fans can sense insincerity. These are great musicians, the sound sometimes leaning more towards harder, heavier rock than the chart-charming hooks would suggest.
A highlight was a rendition of Treat mixed in with Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics. Another was a stretched-out, beefed-up version of ID, where the more psychedelic and electronic side of the music came out. The show was a complete sensory overload, from the fantastic light show to the pyrotechnics to the sound and Pizzorno’s stage craft. Basically it was too bloody much, in the best way. Ending with a rendition of calling card Fire, the only way they could have thrown more at it would have been to let off a small nuclear deterrent from the stage.
Pizzorno seems to be made for this, bounding across stage and not missing a beat. They played new single Alygatyr from the upcoming new album. It’s a sign of changing times that rock stars used to be revered even when they’d married a 13-year-old girl – and now a rock star loses the place in the band he created for beating his woman. That is progress. Swagger doesn’t have to mean aggression.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Kasabian’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Alygatyr here: