Emerging from a haze of deep, red smoke at London's Roundhouse, Kasabian, the five-piece rock band from Leicester, had good reason to be cocky. Hot on the heels of a prestigious Mercury Prize nomination and fresh from an acclaimed stadium tour of the UK with their rock idols Oasis, and a No 1 album, they went back to rock basics with this intimate gig.
Psychedelic indie anthems from the new album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum, including "Fast Fuse" and "Fire", were real crowd-pleasers and went down just as well as some of their older tracks with the clique of hardened fans lucky enough to get free tickets for this iTunes festival gig.
Unusually for the stomp-rockers, Kasabian kicked off with a relatively slow number, and a new one at that, but "Underdog", the opening track from their new album, was lacklustre and strangely deflating live. With "Shoot the Runner", they let rip a thumper and soon had the audience on their feet, where they remained for most of the following hour-and-a-half.
A cross between Primal Scream and Oasis, Kasabian are often tipped as the heir to the latter. And singer Tom Meighan at least seems to agree – he must have spent hours perfecting his Liam-like stage swagger. But he spent much of the night checking on his fans, so perhaps this arrogance is forgivable.
It's easy to forget just how many anthemic tracks Kasabian have up their sleeve, and as if to remind their loyal fans of this they launched into some of their earlier crowd-pleasing anthems, including "Cutt Off" and "Processed Beats" to warm up.
Tracks from the self-described "very psychedelic" West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum included "Where Did All the Love Go?", "Take Aim" and a furiously fast-paced "Fast Fuse". These followed the same formula as favourites such as "Club Foot" and turned the Roundhouse into one large moshpit.
A Coral-like rendition of "Thick as Thieves" delivered a mid-set slow-down and signalled the dash for the bar among less avid fans, as did a moody performance of "The Doberman" , which, in parts, sounded more like the soundtrack of a spaghetti Western than a true rock tune. These slowies seemed to be as much for the benefit of the energetic Meighan as for the audience.
Blasts of brass in "Thick as Thieves" added maturity to the proceedings before Meighan belted out a string of fantastic falsettos in "Fire" as he worked the audience towards climax. With the help of a trio of soul singers, the Kasabian front man had the audience punching the air in unison, seemingly convinced the band had fulfilled their promise of a maniacal performance.
The set climaxed with "Club Foot" before they returned for a four-track encore, in which, as with several previous gigs, the band finished by segueing the Source featuring Candi Staton's rave classic "You Got the Love" into the singalong anthem "LSF".
Kasabian haven't really been hip since 2004, but with the strength of some of their new songs and a possible triumph at the Mercury Prize looming on the horizon, that could be about to change. And from their swagger, it looks like they know it.Reuse content