Despite the Leicester lads being well and truly established as stadium rock gods, there still is nothing like seeing them in a small venue (as is the case with all bands I reckon). Kasabian’s pre-album intimate tour opened Wednesday night in Llandudno – a strange place for an opener for many reasons, which I will come on to. Having seen them well over 10 times now, I feel like I can review this gig (which was weird, again, for a number of reasons) more objectively.
But first, a quick word about the support: Cabbage. This was the first time I’ve seen them live and, although I didn’t know many of their songs, I spent the entire journey back home from Wales streaming their album Young, Dumb and Full Of…. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Cabbage, you can think of them as a political Drenge who took their inspiration from the 1970s punks (heavy Clash, heavy New York Dolls, heavy Stranglers). And if you haven’t heard of Drenge, I recommend that you head over to Spotify pronto (but after you’ve finished reading this).
Now, let me give the lads the kudos they well and truly deserve. For me, they are the best live band I’ve ever seen, as well as the most consistent. With heavy classics such as LSF and Vlad The Impaler receiving the same buzz as newer tracks like eez-eh and bumbleee, it’s no secret that these guys have perfected the art of creating massive crowd-pleasing tunes. But, as well this gift for mosh pit fodder, mellow epic treat still holds the crowd captive – everyone is always putty in the talented hands of Serge Pizzorno. Even as the band suffered through some technical issues with the bass, being the class musicians they are, Tom and Serge were able to create an impromptu acoustic singalong to the hook of the previous song on two occasions. Not only this, but Serge showed his worth again and again, blending eez-eh with Daft Punk’s Around The World and proving that he’s not too proud to be the Bez of the band as well as the Noel Gallagher, switching from guitar to synth to maracas.
So why is it that a band with such a catalogue of massive tunes chose to omit so many of them from the setlist? And why did they end the encore with the mellow and still relatively unknown Put Your Life On It? It’s one thing moving LSF from the encore to the end of the main set; it’s another to finish the encore on a flat note. Where was Switchblade Smiles, Days Are Forgotten or Reason Is Treason?
Having said that, from where I was standing the crowd were just not that into it. It wasn’t until I moved to the very front that I found people jumping around like they should, and I was pretty close to the front to begin with. Never in my life have I seen a Kasabian crowd this tame – surprising as the crowd seemed to be overwhelmingly comprised of Northerners and Midlanders, like myself, who, I guess, failed to get tickets for their local venue, like myself. Which leads me to another question – why pay £50 per ticket just to stand still throughout the entirety of Underdog?
Maybe it was the mega-long queuing time and high security at the venue that dampened people’s spirits, or the fact that Leicester had lost 1-0 that night. As the opening night of a pre-album tour, held in a small seaside town in North Wales, perhaps it’s expected that it’s not bound to be one for the history books. I think (and hope) that we were the guinea pigs, because I can’t let a band that I love that much continue with a setlist that bizarre.
Were you there at Llandudno as well? What was your take on the gig – and have you seen Kasabian before?