The date is Thursday, April 9 and fans eagerly wait outside the doors of Pontiac, Michigan’s beloved venue the Crofoot Ballroom in anticipation for 6:30 to hit and doors to open. Fans have every right to be anxious for a great night, with stellar bands Enter Shikari, Stray From The Path, A Lot Like Birds and I The Mighty comprising their Thursday evening while Enter Shikari are on their Mindsweep tour.
The night kicked off at 7:00 with the four piece progressive outfit I The Mighty taking the stage. Front-man Brent Walsh wasted no time getting the crowd involved, having everyone get closer to the stage to experience the music together. The quartet had tremendous stage presence, bringing the energy in the room from zero to 60. I The Mighty played a good mix of material, giving the diehard fans in the front-left portion of the stage their fix with older material such as “The Dreamer” from their 2012 release Karma Never Sleeps. With the older material, came new material as well, such as “Playing Catch With .22” off their upcoming album Connector. I The Mighty did an excellent job of amping up the crowd for what the night had in store.
Following up on I The Mighty’s energy, six-piece experimental-rock labelmates A Lot Like Birds took the stage. If ALLB’s set could be summed up in one word, it would be passionate. Vocalists Kurt Travis and Cory Lockwood put their hearts into every note that was sung, contributing to the energy that’s already been established at the Crofoot. The group possessed incredible synergy while performing “Kuroi Ledge,” which had the entire crowd on edge. By the end of the set, bassist Matt Coate had a pretty nasty gash on his head, which was pretty indicative to the intensity of the room.
As if the energy in the room couldn’t get much higher from what’s already been established, I was pleasantly proven wrong with New York based hardcore quartet Stray From The Path. Though I wasn’t quite as familiar with SFTP’s material as the moshers around me, the energy emitting from frontman Drew York made it so both new and old fans could enjoy themselves and get lost in the music. Among one of the highlights of their performance, Stray From The Path went toward the roots of punk rock with a cover of The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” York made it a point for the audience to know their enemy, and ended their set with “Badge And A Bullet” off their 2013 release Anonymous, getting the crowd’s intensity at a high before electronic hardcore quartet Enter Shikari took the stage.
The crowd waits in anticipation as a theatre-esque style voice begins the countdown for Enter Shikari’s appearance, beginning at 10 minutes prior. Excitement can barely be contained, both within me and the diehard fans within the room. When the anticipation ends and Enter Shikari take the stage, they open with the engaging and thought provoking “The Appeal & The Mindsweep I,” starting their set on a good note.
The members of Enter Shikari reached across their vast discography to pull together a setlist that could satisfy both new and longtime fans of their work. Not only did the group play fan favorites such as “Mothership,” but they also reached down and played some underrated tracks such as “Gandhi Mate, Gandhi.” Enter Shikari also demonstrated their quirky sense of humor with a live version of “Slipshod,” keeping the crowd entertained.
What made Enter Shikari’s performance fantastic wasn’t just the well-planned setlist, but also the stage presence from the quartet and the moments in-between songs. I’m not sure if witnessing vocalist Rou Reynolds perform a majority of “Gandhi Mate, Gandhi” on top of the bar at the Crofoot and downing a shot directly after, or listening to Reynolds rant about how bands like One Direction are nothing more than entertainers marked my favorite moment among the show. Either way, the synergy between all four members was something that really added to their charm and made the night spectacular.
There wasn’t one band on the ballot that I wouldn’t want to see live again. The energy and passion within the room is something that’s hard to match, and every band had respect for one another, making the night a memorable one in Pontiac.