While Kasabian’s visit to Wolves doesn’t strictly represent a homecoming, there’s a heightened sense of expectancy in the sold-out Civic for the rock ‘n’ rollers from Leicester. There’s a lot of love in the build-up to the band’s intro and even more as they rattle through their hits; the reaction is the type reserved for bands returning to their hometown or, in Kasabian’s case (despite being Midlanders of the ‘East’ variety), bands that have transcended their origins to become a band of the people – wherever the hell they play.
From the moment ‘Club Foot’ shakes the Civic to the ground and reminds us they boasted cast-iron classics from day one, Kasabian deliver a brilliant set. Despite their visit to Wolves being part of a tour of ‘smaller’ venues preceding the release of new album ‘Velociraptor!’, it’s heartening that they don’t get all acoustic on us; sure, the setting may be more intimate than Wembley, where their anthemic sound would be right at home, but thankfully they let rip and display just as much fire in their bellies.
Ah, ‘Fire’. It’s here, closing the show as a rowdy, rabble-rousing sing-along, and it’s one of many loud and electric choices that ensure the pace never slows. All of the band members perform to their best, but the focal point is Tom Meighan, who struts onstage in shades and provides the beer-swilling groups of lads in attendance with the cocky, charismatic frontman they’ve been missing since Liam’s heyday.
Unlike Oasis though, who suffered a slide in quality from album three onwards, Kasabian are just getting better. ‘Underdog’ and ‘Shoot the Runner’ are confidently dispensed with early on, ‘Vlad the Impaler’ from 2009’s Mercury-nominated ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ witnesses the crowd ‘getting loose’, and newies ‘Velociraptor’ and ‘Switchblade Smile’ show no signs of the band slowing down. Groggy, over-egged Beatles-esque ballads? Not for these lads. Their blend of balls-out rock, dance beats and increasingly adventurous forays into rabbit-hole psychedelia casts them as heirs to Primal Scream’s throne, and that’s a better kingdom to preside over in my book. By the time ‘Stuntman’ segues into an interpretation of Donna Summer’s ’70s disco classic ‘I Feel Love’, it’s clear they’re one step closer to wearing the crown.