On March 22nd 2012, Kasabian cracked America. Rock n’ Roll still exists today.
From the get-go, Kasabian backed up their solid live renditions with a palpable pool of neon colored lights. Under the command of frontmen Serge Pizzorno and Tom Meighan, the crowd at Kasabian’s New York show got rewired. Kasabian opened The Doors of Perception.
Kasabian began the rock n’ roll trance with “Days are Forgotten.” Their set-list included at least two songs from each album. To name a few, Kasabian played “Underdog,” “Velociraptor,” “Clubfoot,” “Empire,” “Stuntman,” “Where Did All the Love Go,” and “Re-Wired.” The setlist ranged from heavy to serene. Every once and a while, Kasabian ventured into covers such as “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by Iggy & The Stooges. They may have even gotten into “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones as well as some echoes of Ennio Morricone.
A Kasabian concert is like a contract or trade. Both band and audience give and receive. Kasabian expects something in return from their crowd. A concert such as this is not mindless, passive entertainment. The crowd must level up to their music.
Certain audience members would later discuss experiencing flashbacks symptoms. For one particular crowd member, this was courtesy of the Serge and Tom personas. The two front men had left an overall impression. Serge with his big dark hair and thick beard could have been manufactured in a rock n roll lab. “You don’t meet people like that,” one audience member said. “That’s how rock stars looked in the 60’s. Fuck the time decade, it’s today.”
Another member of the crowd spoke about the illuminating strobe lights. For her, the lights were “a source of stimulation.” “The lights corresponded to the music,” she said, “visually following the music… It was a rave with crazy fucking lights and shit.”
Eventually, everyone in the crowd that night fell under the spell and magic of Kasabian’s trance. During “L.S.F.,” Kasabian instructed their audience to sing along with them during the chorus. Serge kept repeating the phrase, “one more time,” while instructing the crowd. When Kasabian left the stage, the crowd continued to chant and chant until the band finally returned for the encore.
The disco ball began to flicker and turn. “Switchblade Smiles” was the first song of the encore. Spinning dark blue and white lights, the figures of each crowd member were highlighted as though an optical illusion.
The lights suddenly burned to red for “Vlad the Impaler”. For this one, Serge addressed to the audience, “I wanna see everybody on their feet jumping up and down. Every-motherfucking-one-of-you.”
During “Vlad the Impaler,” Tom, who was often disguised on stage in his dark sunglasses, flipped the bird as he sang, “fucking homicide.” The only way “Vlad the Impaler” could have been better was if Noel Fielding appeared on stage.
After catching a quick breathe, Kasabian was ready for their audience’s contract agreement. “We’ve all gathered the concept of jumping up and down,” Serge continued, “even you on the balconies, fucking jump up and down. I’ll count you in. No one fucking stands still!” The crowd had no choice but to bounce up and down. Even the stiffest members of the audience ended up bouncing. We were all hooked.
“Fire” was the last song of the encore, and boy, was it a last song. Tom thanked the crowd, and Serge followed with, “I am the God of Hellfire, and I bring you FIRE!” It was at this moment when the crowd was Kasabian’s dog.
Serge had the entire crowd, including the people on the balcony, crouch down on the floor. They weren’t going to give us anything until we all were on our hands and knees. Even the band themselves crouched down to the stage floor. After the breakdown, the band and crowd simultaneously leaped up, and Kasabian busted into their finally.
By virtue of a shared love of music, audience members found something familiar and something new at the Kasabian show. Regardless of one’s musical background or preference, there was something for everybody at this concert.
Kasabian gives rock n’ roll a universal reawakening of the wonders of live music. With this in mind, audience members with a preference for electronic music will also discover that a Kasabian show is not so different or at odds with a rave. If anything, the rave scene could pick up a few tricks from watching these guys live. Kasabian are paving the future of not just rock and electronic music, but for all music.
The wave of energy began at the Kasabian concert had continued even after the show was over. When the crowd left the concert venue and emerged onto the streets, it was evident those who had undergone the Kasabian and those who didn’t. Those who had seen Kasabian were riding a wave of energy in their gaits. For some audience members, the wave of energy still continues even now.
Co-written by Doug Menagh & Elyse Gollomp