Sunday nights are not always the opportune time for a rowdy rock show, but Kasabian took it more as a challenge than a disadvantage when they took to the stage of the Hordern Pavilion. Armed with four albums of material and a Glastonbury headline set to their name, the Brit band launched themselves upon the Sydney crowd as fully-fledged rock stars.
The band fired out with 48:13 opener Bumblebee, lead vocalist Tom Meighan immediately puffing out his chest and commanding the crowd with his flailing arms. It was instantly clear that the night was going to be uneasy on the ribcage, with thundering drums and howling guitars rumbling the room.
A cover of Kanye’s Black Skinhead as an intro into Shoot The Runner began to work the crowd out of their Sunday slumber but it was clear early on that the band was going to have to work to create the kind of havoc they’re used to.
As such, Sergio Pizzorno took it upon himself to work the Hordern into a state of mayhem. He yelled, “jump” and “c’mon” continuously, with Meighan joining in to command, “Sydney, put your fucking hands in the air.”
Still, Days Are Forgotten’s tribal calls were barely echoed early on, and Underdog felt sleepy, drowned under a wash of reverb. The crowd eventually muster their enthusiasm, though, and by the time the dance-heavy eez-eh rolled out people were bouncing off each other chanting “we’re tired of taking orders”.
Part of Kasabian’s charm is their ability to remain unclassifiable. Processed Beats from their debut had a groovy Rolling Stones-swagger, while a synth-heavy version of bow was ready-made for British raves. The result was an amalgam of British rock culture with a homegrown rave aesthetic.
Whatever it was, one thing was undeniable and that was the strength of their choruses. Re-Wired raised a flurry of pumping fists and Empire’s wall of brass finally induced a sweaty, blurry mosh.
An anthemic cover of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You made sure the crowd wasn’t dipping in energy once they’d found it, and gave off a bit of hometown pride on the band’s behalf. While they were halfway across the world the band weren’t the only Brits in the house. A sea of English flags revealed themselves throughout the night and a quick eavesdrop seemed to confirm that the crowd was at least half Pom, Meighan quipping at one point, “We can’t fucking get away!”
Towards the end of the set, L.S.F. raised a chant that lasted through the break before the encore. Switchblade Smiles ushered in the final few tracks with heavy synths and an impressive array of blinking lights. The “get loose, get loose” direction of Vlad The Impaler came at the perfect time for an already chaotic crowd. But, as expected, nothing could top the unbridled energy that came with the tempo-change of Fire. When the beat dropped and the band howled, the strongest mosh of the night emerged.
Given the mood at the beginning of the show, by the end Kasabian proved they were a great fit for snapping a sleepy crowd into gear. As they left the stage to deafening screams it seemed the band had more than proved their distinction as one of the best live bands around.