Words & photos by Alexandra Healey
When I first walked into the TLA on South Street, I was surprised at the lack of people that were inside for the Mind Sweep Tour. The small amount of under 21s waited by the barrier, while an equal amount of over 21s hung out in the bar area drinking to pass the thirty minutes until the opening band went on.
Luckily, by the time South Jersey based hardcore band, Chasing Safety, went on, more people had filled into the venue. The hardcore band played songs from their first full album, Season Of The Dead, while Johnny, the lead singer, promoted the new album, NOMAD, with a DIY sleeveless shirt as he moved around the stage intensely. After throwing their banners into the crowd during their last song, the band quickly exited.
White Noises, a fairly new band out of LA, walked onto stage as a few crowd goers screamed their love for the band. The enthusiastic lead singer, Shawn, ran onto stage to join his bandmates who had begun the set already. The band quickly moved around to their songs from their first EP, Aren’t You Glad, which was just released this past February. Due to a cable malfunction, bassist David quickly ran to fix the problem. Shawn easily took control of the stage and called crowd surfers up, handing them the microphone as they were carried over the barrier. The band finished after their 25 minute set and dramatically threw their instruments onto the stage in front of them in the heat of the moment.
Now that the crowd, who packed the lower level of the TLA, was pumped up, Hands Like Houses was welcomed on stage with cheer. The Australian band started off their short set with “I Am”, which allowed the crowd to relax somewhat with their indie rock/hardcore sound with Matt “Coops” Cooper on lead guitar, Alex Pearson on rhythm guitar, Joey Tyrrell on bass guitar, Matt Parkitny’s powerful drumming, and Trenton Woodley’s clean vocals. It was clear before they even went on, you could tell that this band would be different than the two hardcore bands before them because they were burning incense before they went on.
After three short sets for the opener, I didn’t really know what to expect from British band, Enter Shikari. Having listened to them in high school, I was familiar with some of their music, but haven’t heard anything newer from them. Ten minutes prior to their start time, a recording of a ’50s entertainment announcer came on to countdown the minutes until the performance between the ’80s music they had playing.
When the recording came down to one minute, the crowd was anxiously waiting until they began to chant “And still we will be here, standing like statues”, which is a line in a handful of the band’s songs. The chanting gave me chills as I watched the anticipating faces of the crowd behind me. Finally, the members of Enter Shikari came onto stage waving hello as the stepped into the spots on stage. Lead singer, Rou Reynolds, stood by his microphone until the first song “Enter Shikari Reprise Solidarity” began, a song that uses the line the crowd was chanting. As the song went on, Rou and bassist, Chris Batten, moved around each other with ease as the ran around the stage. Crowd surfers were coming up left and right, one even jumping out of the security guards arms in order to high five Rou.
Once the songs “Sorry You’re Not A Winner” and “One True Color”, I left the photo pit and quick hurried to the upstairs balcony to get a good view of the band and the rest of the crowd I couldn’t really see before. After the band played an old one that I recognized called “Destabilise”, they told the crowd that it was now time for the “crazy” part of the set. That they wanted to see the crowd dancing the best the could. Before the song “Paddington Frisk”, Rou gave a quick definition of the meaning behind the name, which is the “dance” one does as they suffocate. While this was happening, guitarist , Rory Clewlow, climbed on top of the crowd to play the song. In order to take a break from the crazy part of the set, they played one of their calmer songs “Constellations”. But the break didn’t last long as the band continued on with songs like “Gandhi” and “Torn Apart”, which created a circle pit and some moshers in the crowd. When “Torn Apart” was finished, Rory told the crowd that the next song was the last song, but paused and smiled at the crowd before adding “Or is it?” implying an encore to their set. The band “ended” with another old song, but a crowd favorite “Mothership”.
They exited the stage as all bands do and once gone the crowd began to chant again, but some how they were louder than before. Chris was the first to reenter the stage, followed by Rory, then drummer, Rob Rolfe, who instead of walking to his drum set, when to the front of the stage and put his arms up to pump up the crowd even more, though I didn’t think it was possible. Once he sat at his drums, Rou came back on stage to introduce the next song they were playing, which was “Redshift”. They quickly went through that song into the next one, “Anaesthetist”, and they all ran around stage like orderly madmen. As they ended their performance with “The Appeal ll”, Rou told the crowd that they only had two more minutes to go crazy. Rory climbed back onto the crowd, who helped him stand and play. Chris ran into the crowd to the circle pit and played as many ran around him. Rou climbed on top of speakers as he also played guitar, before meeting with Chris back on stage and running around in circles with him. Rob threw his drumsticks into the crowd and Rou jumped on the speakers next to the drum set, grabbing one of the stage lights and shining it everywhere as the song finished up. When the song was finally done, Rory climbed back on stage and Chris threw his guitar into the crowd while a dozen of hands grabbed onto it trying to claim it.
When Enter Shikari walked off the stage for good, everyone began to leave as well. Sweat poured off of most of the fans so going outside was a nice treat for them. Many hung out outside, talking to some of the bands that played early and recalled their memories from the show they just saw as others made their way home with no voice and huge smiles on the faces.