Kasabian brings the fire to The Wiltern

Kasabian Wiltern 2017

It was a packed and lively house at The Wiltern on Saturday night as Kasabian’s latest tour rolled into town.

First up was British punk duo Slaves who tore through a blistering set of tunes. Stand up drummer Isaac Holman and guitarist/bassist Laurie Vincent were non-stop energy on the stage bouncing all over the place and pounding their instruments with abandon.

Early highlights included “Spit It Out” and “Fuck The Hi Hat” (about the percussion instrument, not our beloved Highland Park venue) from their 2016 album Take Control. Things got heavy in the middle of the set as Vincent switched from guitar to distorted bass, and the crowd ate it up. A special treat was a brand new punk Waltz, which Holman said was being performed live for the second time ever. Always weird to hear a rock waltz but it sounded great! “Cheer Up London” and “The Hunter” from 2015’s Are You Satisfied rounded out the second half of the set.

Kasabian

Promptly at 9:30, Kasabian hit the stage in an explosion of lights and sound. Singer Tom Meighan strode about the stage like a tense predator ready to pounce while in contrast guitarist/singer Sergio Pizzorno was a swirling and loose bundle of energy. Through tracks like “Twentyfourseven”, “Underdog”, and “Shoot The Runner” it became obvious that despite their number of years together this band is still having fun. Most telling was the consistent smile on the face of drummer Ian Matthews.

The already electric show took a turn up in intensity with “Clubfoot” from the band’s 2004 self-titled debut. The few open pieces of real estate in the venue were quickly filled by excited dancers and numerous fist-pumping super-fans. That mood continued right through “Bless This Acid House” from 2017 album For Crying Out Loud.

Things took a more serious turn with the song “Stevie”, followed by Nirvana cover “All Apologies” with audience sing-along (A surprise at Leeds Festival that’s become a trademark of this tour).

The encore began with massive track (And FIFA2017 feature) “Comeback Kid”. A banger on their latest album it’s a total show stopper live. Felt like one of those great Uniting-the-Audience type moments especially with the lyrics:

“And here, here we stand,
Side by side,
Don’t let go”

After that the audience jumped along to “Vlad The Impaler” and things wrapped up with “Fire” from the band’s 2009 release West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.

People say that Kasabian is one of those bands you have to see live to really appreciate, they have won numerous “Best Live Act” awards from NME and Q after all. After Saturday night at The Wiltern it’s confirmed that they’re still one of the most fun live acts going.

Words and photos by Tim Aarons