Review by Ivor Whitten for MPM
Going through the entrance to the Telegraph Building in Belfast on a rather cool and damp evening you enter a long almost tunnel like passageway that at the end opens up not a huge high roofed hall area.
It is the old Belfast Telegraph building and is literally gutted of any of its previous resident. Concrete floor and the walls are all bare and show the concrete bricks. It should be cold but is surprising always warm enough to even be in a t-shirt.
The packed-out hall tonight sees a great stage covered in alchemical signs and glyphs denoting the main attraction. The wall has a huge banner filled to the brim with the glyphs as well as the instruments on the stage itself. It was clear to see the band filling the building tonight were there to promote their latest well received album, The Alchemist’s Euphoria.
Yes, tonight was the return of Kasabian to Belfast, the incredible indie rockers lads from Leicester. There was no support act, but there was DJ Rigsy on stage warming up the massive crowd in anticipation of Sergio Pizzorno, Chris Edwards, Ian Matthews, Tim Carter and tour session musician Robert Harvey.
Once the DJ finished and the sound check started people were already so hyped, they started cheering the sound check of each instrument. The broad brush of young and older attendees were really ready for a night of absolutely slamming tuneage.
Then it was time for NME Award winners, Kasabian, to take their place on the stage. The lights dipped and the anticipation went up to electric levels. Then the lights exploded like a thousand suns as the band made their entrance with Sergio coming on last by bouncing around the stage. The roar of approval was deafening going up and down pitches as Sergio raised and lowered his hands encouraging everyone into the club of chaos.
The sound of rapturous applause, cheers, roars and yells were all acknowledged by Sergio with a massive grin on his face. Since taking over from Tom, who left the band this year, there were questions about whether Sergio could fill that position. Any doubt was blasted high into the atmosphere as they immediately dropped into “Rocket Fuel” with full on light performance and Sergio bouncing around the stage like he had too many energy drinks.
And it was spectacular. They crowd went wild before the tempo, impossibly, increased as they then slammed home the firm long-time favourite “Club Foot”. All it took was the first few notes and the whole building went into full chaotic mode jumping and bouncing with wild abandon as every voice joined as one to sing the chorus accentuating each vowel with raised fists. It was simply euphoric.
Even with the change in line-up it was plain to see Sergio’s time as backup singer was not wasted. Along with his vocals his stagemanship showed he was in full control and could turn on a dime at the right time to get the most out of the audience. With the refrain “That’s what I’m talking about” Sergio and the lads went Straight on into “Ill Ray (The King)” and “Underdog”.
The crowd must have been drinking energy drinks all day as there was no let-up in the massive amount of pogo moshing, bouncing, crowd hugging and fist pumping in time. All while they sang their hearts out.
Then to huge roars as Sergio waved of his arms they went into “Chemicals”. In response to the high-octane euphoria Sergio took a moment to address the audience “BELFAST! You are amazing. Let’s get this place jumping. C’mon.” and into the hypnotic beats of “eez-eh” with the whole place going berserk once more as Sergio took up his mantle of guitarist for “You’re in Love With a Psycho” as it medlied in with “One More Time”.
“Shoot the Runner ” was next as Sergio encouraged the crowd with “let’s get it going”. Again, the choral symbiosis of the packed-out hall with the vocals of Sergio was loud and proud. There will be a lot of exhausted people in the morning with very rough voices.
The intro of the space waltz leading into “Scripture” and on into “Treat” with a prompt of “put those hands to the sky” did not need to be said twice. The place was completely enraptured with the second to none performance of Kasabian as they slammed out each song with fervour and energy.
Chants arose of “Sergio” as the band went into “Stevie”. Everybody there must have lost a few pounds as everyone jumped around like maniacs.
“How are we feeling? Getting I want to see some proper bouncing” was another rallying cry from Sergio as they played “Pinch Roller” and “Empire” before finishing the official set with “Vlad the Impaler” and the inevitable bending down of everyone to ‘get loose’ once more.
Obviously, in line with tradition, there was a short recess for the band and to the old football chant of “Oley, Oley, Oley” they came back on and demolished the hall with
“Bless This Acid House”, “L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)” where Sergio shouted, “Let’s try and get as many people on shoulders as possible, thank you Belfast you’ve been fantastic”. With more audience participation of roars from the left side then the right side then altogether before finishing with the final freak out track for everyone there to spend what energy they had left, Kasabian dropped in “Fire”.
It can simply be said that Kasabian delivered an incredible performance of outstanding showmanship that had everyone in a state of energetic euphoria the entire time. It is an experience that can only be believed if you are there in person. What a night. Kasabian left everyone with smiles on their faces, happiness in their heart and an experience to talk about for months to come.
You really need to check out Kasabian for yourself. Find their tour dates at https://www.kasabian.co.uk/