ROCK ROYALTY KASABIAN UNIFY LEICESTER WITH HOMECOMING SUMMER SOLSTICE II

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“England just got through to the semi-final. Leicester won the premier league. The sun is shining. You’re here with your best mates. Watching the best rock band in the world. Let’s have it.”

Kasabian (Charlie Wright / Northern Exposure)

Kasabian are a big deal. A force to be reckoned with. They’ve been crafting globally recognised rock anthems since before Arctic Monkeys were even a thing.

Eight studio albums in, if Kasabian aren’t commanding a crowd of thousands themselves, there’s a football stadium somewhere doing so without hesitation. The sounds of Underdog, Club Foot and Fire have become the soundtrack to football, notably Leicester City Football Club (LCFC).

If you’re from Leicester, you may consider them rock royalty. There’s something to be said for bands that reach astronomical heights and remain consistently in touch with their roots. It feels all the more special being an intimate city, that Kasabian have helped put it on the map. The boys from Filbert St not only hosted a huge homecoming at Victoria Park in 2014, but they gave King Power Stadium its concert debut after LCFC won the Premier League two years later.

Fast forward to 2024, and Kasabian return to light up the city of Leicester with Summer Solstice II. It’s been a long-awaited occasion, bringing friends Kaiser Chiefs, Everything Everything and Master Peace. The only difference this time is Sergio Pizzorno fronting the band. With an expected audience of 50,000, people flocked from all over the country to catch a glimpse of Kasabian playing their own gaff. A week ago they packed out Woodies at Glastonbury as a surprise. And that was just a warm-up.

Master Peace & Everything Everything

Braving the harsh rain, Master Peace invited us into the weird and wonderful world he’s been building. Weaving together the observational lyrics of Kate Nash with the urgency of Bloc Party; Master Peace had Leicester in a trance.

Nobody does it quite like Everything Everything, their thrilling, playful and inventive style is utterly spellbinding. Despite jokingly saying they “don’t know the footie score”, it didn’t matter. Euphoric hits Distant Past, Pizza Boy and Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread called time on the rain.

Kaiser Chiefs

What could be said about Kaiser Chiefs that hasn’t already been said? They sit next to Kasabian as indie heroes and have done so for 20 years. Hammering Leicester with hit after hit: Ruby, I Predict A Riot, Everyday I Love You Less And Less, Oh My God and Modern Way. As they celebrate their eighth album, this was a reminder of how much of an impact this Leeds outfit has had on music.

“It’s coming home” the park chants, as frontman Ricky Wilson spins the mic on the field. When news spread England had subsequently qualified for the European Semi-Finals the flares then lit up and England flags took to the skies. You could say the golden spirits of Victoria Park made their way to the dramatic shootout.

Kasabian

“This is our city. Our people” announces Sergio. Kasabian were home, and they weren’t going to let that go unnoticed. Over the next hour and a half, the Leicester quartet made this a night to remember.

Using their jam-packed Glastonbury setlist as a reference, Kasabian raced through indie anthems from across their expanded catalogue. Boldly kicking off the evening with Call, picked from their latest effort, had the crowd bouncing without hesitation.

When the riffs of Underdog ignited, Leicester couldn’t help but erupt. Every chord felt like an awakening. It felt like the entire city was in one space, and we were alive. This song is arguably the unofficial anthem of the city, and at a time when people need it most, brought thousands together. Even more special, Sergio raced around the crowd to grinning fans from front to back.

Other massive rock anthems Shoot The Runner, You’re In Love With A Psycho and Club Foot obtained a similar reception. People clambering onto shoulders, screaming every word, throwing their moderately priced beer or lighting a flare became a common occurrence. Coming Back To Me Good noticeably slotted in seamlessly next to these big hitters, despite only releasing recently.

Elsewhere, there were consistent nods to some of the band’s favourite influences. Playing Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic before treat, sampling Groove Is In The Heart to introduce Coming Back To Me Good and Insomia during Vlad The Impaler. All of which made the setlist feel bigger than ever, and helped encourage a free-spirited attitude in between tunes.

As the night came to a close, Sergio had one request. “You all need to bounce. Sh*t just got real and I need you to take this energy to the end of the gig. Leicester f**king do it.” Vlad The Impaler and Empire followed, and chaos would be an understatement. There was little escape from the mosh pits dotted around the park that it’s surprising a mild earthquake wasn’t reported. The latter saw the entire audience crouch, before jumping simultaneously to the huge chorus.

Sergio basked in the moment of it all, saying he didn’t take it all in last time. When your name is chanted in almost every interval, who wouldn’t want to sit back and gaze at a packed park? There were smiles from Chris, Ian and Tim too. The importance of this show had not gone unnoticed.

Lost Souls Forever. For my hometown” he cries out, before joining the crowd for a second time. There couldn’t have been a better finale. Those chants carried on as they wandered off stage. Of course – it wasn’t over, there were still three more to squeeze in before curfew.

The true closer of the day was none other than Fire, one of the biggest rock anthems of the early 00s, sitting comfortably next to Seven Nation Army and Chelsea Dagger. “This one is for Vichai” they call out, paying homage to the late LCFC manager, who tragically passed away in 2018. If you needed evidence to explain the longevity of Kasabian, this moment was it.

A truly triumphant homecoming, for a band proud to call Leicester home. Through it all, one thing was particularly special. And that was the generations of people in attendance, an eye-opening reassurance that rock music isn’t going anywhere.

By the sounds of it, Summer Solstice III will be on the horizon much sooner than expected.

Setlist:

  1. Call
  2. Club Foot
  3. III Ray (The King)
  4. CHEMICALS
  5. Shoot The Runner
  6. Re-Wired
  7. Underdog
  8. You’re In Love With A Psycho
  9. Coming Back To Me Good
  10. Algorithms
  11. SCRIPTVRE
  12. stevie
  13. The Doberman
  14. treat
  15. Vlad The Impaler
  16. Empire
  17. L.S.F
  18. Reason Is Treason
  19. Bless This Acid House
  20. Fire

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