Kasabian, Roundhouse, London
Kasabian are one of those bands who divide opinion. They are either touted as the slick saviours of Brit rock or snootily derided as Oasis-lite. I'll be honest and admit that I used to sit squarely in the latter camp.
Tonight's performance, however, underlines just how misguided that opinion was. From the moment the band bound on to the stage, it is nigh on impossible not be converted into a fully paid-up supporter of Leicester's finest.
Sure, their shades-wearing frontman, Tom Meighan, does little to discount any of my initial Liam comparisons, as he gesticulates to the expectant crowd. But the driving anthems of the hits-heavy set easily outweigh any other image issues and, more to the point, showcase just how strong the band's back catalogue really is.
Serge Pizzorno and co succeed in getting the whole venue into their groove – something other bands at the iTunes Festival have found difficult. While it is admirable to offer free tickets, giving people the chance to catch acts that they might not otherwise get to see, it does mean that some real fans don't get to catch their favourite bands in the unique surroundings of the Roundhouse. Instead, their places may well be taken by people who have applied for tickets for every gig – and the chance of a night out in London. This can lead to subdued audiences.
Not tonight. The moshpit is rocking, lyrics are boisterously chanted back and beer regularly flies through the air. This is what a good rock gig should be about. Even those blessed with seats in the circle are compelled to get to their feet and rattle their jewellery.
Highlights include the mass singalongs to "Where Did All the Love Go?" and "Underdog", an infectious version of "Shoot the Runner" that has the whole venue bouncing and a flawless take on "Take Aim", the crowd reverentially silent for the spine-tingling trumpet intro before Pizzorno, the lead guitarist, takes over the vocals.
But what really stands out is just how tight the band are. This is a slick, measured performance that highlights just how far Kasabian have come since their eponymous debut album. They own the Roundhouse – and judging by the teasers from their forthcoming fourth album, Velociraptor!, their star looks set to rise even higher.
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