Alt-rock band Enter Shikari play onstage at the QMU shrouded in green light,
Credit: Eva Merritt

Enter Shikari play special COP26 shows @ QMU

By Ashmita Shanthakumar

 “Shackle, impede, and paralyze those who put profits before the planet” – Rou Reynolds

Enter Shikari, one of last decade’s most acclaimed alt-rock outfits, played a two-night residency at QMU alongside Music Declares Emergency in line with COP26. Music Declares Emergency is a group of artists, music industry professionals, and organisations that stand together to declare a climate and ecological emergency and call for an immediate governmental response to protect all life on Earth.

I’ve never been to a rock concert before. And I must say, the in-person experience is something completely different. Enter Shikari cultivated an electrifying atmosphere, as the audience was imbued by their powerful presence. Everyone was reciting the lyrics word for word and the flashing lights made everything feel so fun. 

I was surprised by how many of the band’s songs, especially those taken from their earlier albums, are tied to the concept of environmental justice. Between songs frontman Rou Reynolds delivered statements about COP26 and the climate emergency. 

Before Crossing the Rubicon, Reynolds highlighted that “each COP before this has failed but there is something different about this one, there is determination and enthusiasm and new blood and youth”. This feeling of precarious hope comes through in the song’s lyrics, especially the refrain “Now we’re crossing the Rubicon / We tried everything under the sun. / So we’re crossing the Rubicon / ‘Cause it’s too late, it’s too late.”

Before performing the pressure’s on, Reynolds declared, “there’s 190 delegates just a mile from here gathered to sort this shit out”. The audience clearly felt this energy and at one point everyone erupted into a euphoric chant of “Fuck the tories” to the amusement of the band. Reynolds returned to the delegates later in the gig, saying that we need to shout loud enough so those a mile away can hear us. “No more broken promises, We want action.” 

This concert was incredible – I am now a converted fan of Enter Shikari and will watch out for what they will do in the future. It also got me pumped up for environmental action and hopeful that COP26 can bring about some change. As the band remind us in Sssnakepit, “When the weight of the world is pushing you down /  just push right back.” Let’s hope we can all fall in spirit with the band and push back.


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