Kasabian review – a raucous electro bounce fills an absurdly epic show | Music

OWhen Kasabian sacked his lead singer, Tom Meighan, the day before his sentencing for assaulting his partner, bandmate Serge Pizzorno came out of the ranks as a ready-made replacement. The bearded, dark-featured guitarist has always been central to the band’s image and joie de vivre, and his solo album and 2019 tour gave him the opportunity to test his skills as a frontman.

Here, the man who once scored a perfect volley goal on live TV while wearing French boots is unfazed by the prospect of taking on a vast arena. He leaps into an oversized parka covered in graffiti of the kind that Liam Gallagher might dismiss as overdone. Rocket Fuel – from the band’s latest album, The Alchemist’s Euphoria – brings the pop, a trademark mix of Prodigy-ish beats and Oasis swagger to get everyone excited for the weekend. “Manchester, it’s Friday!” Pizzorno cries. “Give me a mosh pit!”

The coat takes off after three songs, and the leader becomes himself again: dressed in black, guitar attached, singing a little more nasally than his predecessor. But he still has enough charisma to say things like, “Everybody throw your hands up!” without sounding silly.

While Kasabian’s electro hooligan bounce isn’t for everyone, it’s a fearsome live act. Drummer Ian Matthews spices up the electronics with thundering percussion and bassist Chris Edwards brings the funk, meaning Club Foot, Underdog and Shoot the Runner sound incorrigible. The band’s core sound remained consistent for two decades, but they added influences ranging from psychedelia to hip-hop. New song Scriptvre blends soft rock and mainstream pop, while guitar anthem Bless This Acid House sounds like duffed-up Stereophonics.

The show recognizes the demands of arenas. Pizzorno isn’t too proud of the “Left side makes noise!” routines, while their new guitarist Rob Harvey’s outfit – a Grim Reaper-like black hooded coat – has a theatrical feel. You’re in Love With a Psycho continues with Daft Punk’s One More Time, and a dip in the Stone Roses’ stunt during an acoustic version of Processed Beats delights Manchester audiences. The rhythm drops only slightly during an acid rock section. Pizzorno’s walk through the seating areas is devilishly timed to liven up Treat, one of their most daily acts.

Empire becomes a gigantic mass chant and the singer declares, “The vibe tonight is the best I’ve ever seen.” He mentions the state of the country before suggesting that LSF (Lost Souls Forever) is a chance “to forget about all the shit and pain, and be together”. The song’s chorus – “We’ve got our back to the wall” – has never sounded so powerful. By the time they reach an absurdly epic fire, crowd scenes of writhing bodies, topless men and jostling mosh pits look like something out of ancient Rome. Kasabian’s own empire seems stronger than ever.

At The Dome, Doncaster, October 31. Then on tour.

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