After 6 long years, Kasabian finally graced our American shores with a tour. There were many a fan who were not going to miss this show. Having played mostly support slots in America and never in Washington DC, Kasabian had big promises to keep for the waiting crowd.
Support was provided by San Antonio, Texas band Hacienda. Vocals were shared by Dante Schwebel (guitar) and Rene Villanueva (bass) and were perfectly lovely, although nothing to write home about. Their best of their set was ‘Savage’ a dreamy, synth driven new song set to be released on their upcoming third album.
The main event, however, was Kasabian. From the wailing opening of ‘Days are Forgotten’, Leicester rockers Kasabian had Washington punters in the palm of their hands. My town, often saddled with a rather staid reputation, is not known for its overexuberance at shows. And unluckily it was a Tuesday – “meatloaf night” for many a Washington pundit. But we did the town proud by bringing it for Kasabian that night! Famed Club 9:30 had the roof blown off it by both the band and the crowd. The sold-out crowd welcomed the manic rockers with fists raised, voices loud and feet leaving the ground over and over. The floor was an undulating mass all the way back to the doors the entire night. We even had a stage diver (an act that gets you tossed from this particular club!): so enthusiastic was this crowd.
Frontman Tom Meighan commanded the fairly small stage with his larger than life personality that easily translates into venues 10 or 15 times larger than the one he was owning last week, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Axe man Serge Pizzorno played to the crowd over and over, stalking the stage with his guitar and coming out in front of the monitors to engage the crowd. Ever the showman, Pizzorno preened like a rooster, strutting, dancing, throwing poses, all angles and long limbs, and letting loose with killer riffs. The light show was even something we often don’t get in a club this size. But that is our reward for not getting to see bands the likes of Kasabian for years and years – kick-arse shows in smaller clubs than in England and Europe.
Among the highlights for me were when ‘Thick as Thieves’ growled to a close by segueing into a cover of the Doors’ ‘People Are Strange’. Then safely ensconced at the barrier, I was able to withstand the surging crowd as Pizzorno egged the masses to mosh directly behind me during his featured song ‘Take Aim’. ‘Rewired’, a favorite of mine of the new album ‘Velociraptor’, was indeed electric, all throbbing and innuendo. And of course the entire night was worth it even if you *just* saw the encore. ‘Switchblade Smiles’ absolutely exploded off the stage. Though not a chatty band, their appreciation of the crowd was apparent by their frequent clapping and bowing out to the audience. All night, they seemed genuinely grateful that so many present were so enthusiastic.
Kasabian have been selling out venues left and right throughout the U.S. Sure, it might have something to do with the fact that we didn’t see them at all for 2009’s ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’, but I think it has more to do with their reputation for a killer live show. If you had the chance to watch their New Year’s Eve show online, there was no way you’d miss them on their run through the States. Yes, nearly everyone I talked to at the show asked me whether or not I was going to either Noel’s or Liam’s upcoming local gigs – but I resist the comparison. I love Kasabian for themselves, what their music does to me, and how I and all the others reacted to the show. Judging by this night – Kasabian would be able to come back to DC any time to an ecstatic “welcome back!”
After the cut: Kasabian’s set list.
Kasabian Set List:
Days Are Forgotten
Shoot the Runner
Where Did All the Love Go
Thick as Thieves
I Hear Voices
Vlad the Impaler