Prior to last night I liked Kasabian. Post last night I love Kasabian. Their Monday night gig at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange, for T On The Fringe, had so much atmosphere and scored so highly on the sheer enjoyment factor that their irresistible sonic waves of perfect live music, like Processed Beats and Empire, still refuse to leave my head.
We arrived at the Corn Exchange around 9pm, with doors having opened at 7.30. While waiting in a slow moving queue (why can’t venues sort this frustrating aspect of gigs out?) for some beers, Kasabian entered the stage to a roar of anticipation. The venue was full, a complete sell out and people stood with their arms in the air throughout the barn like room of the Corn Exchange and on the balcony at the rear. Having not heard their new album I couldn’t identify every track but about three songs in and Kasabian launched into the fast tempo, hypnotic chants of ‘Reason is Treason’.
After sinking the treasured beer we cut into the crowds and made a line for the front; Kasabian are best enjoyed close up. Being a Monday night didn’t trouble this crowd in the slightest and each beat, riff and perfectly delivered lyric was greeted by swathes of fans jumping and waving their arms in the air. All the usual favourites were delivered to perfection and as Tom Meighan announced you might know this, ‘Empire’, the bands current single and title track of the new album was delivered. The video might show a gun battle, but this track brought the crowd together and really set the gig on it’s way.
My highlight was ‘Processed Beats’, a track that is just built for the live stage. With the early opening “I drop beats from this processed meat” people began jumping, embracing, yelling and screaming; it was quite literally going off. The gig just built up from here, offering willing takers an easy chance to become totally immersed in Kasabian’s cutting, dance driven beats.
The inevitable encore and inevitable ‘Club Foot’ ensued. My dwindling energy levels and dehydration were cured by this signature track: no further explanation is needed for the impact this had. Finishing off with ‘L.S.F. Lost Souls Forever’ was a great move and hearing this track live, as a set closer, enhanced it by an incalculable factor.
When the encore ended the band stood, wrapped in the Scottish flag, applauding the crowd who had given their all to create a truly great atmosphere and a night to genuinely remember. Every track I knew had been played and programmed in without fault; I left with appreciation and anticipation of the new material, but totally satisfied with the old. Including the encore Kasabian played for approx. 80 minutes and let their music do the talking throughout, with little crowd interaction, apart from the obligatory “This really is the best crowd we’ve played to” or “Come on Edinburgh” type comments.
As the band left the stage the crowd refused to let the music die and they kept the gig alive. Virtually everyone was chanting the instantly crowd pleasing part of L.S.F., clapping their hands and stomping their feet to the music the crowd were creating. This continued until persons had dispersed well away from the venue. Strangers chatted away, united in praise for one of the best natured, fun and anthemic gigs you could ever hope to attend. As one fan said “Where else would you get this?”. For a time last night, you could only agree.
An Empire to rejoice.