Review: Kasabian at The O2, Dublin
Serge Pizzorno, Kasabian guitarist and pointy-bearded Rasputin lookalike, has a question. "Where," he asks, "is the f**king moshpit?"
Kasabian are the sort of gleefully over-the-top, moderately silly arena rock band you feared they'd stopped making. Their latest album is named after a dinosaur, contains a heartfelt paean to the hallucinatory powers of heavy spirits and features lurching beats and chugging guitars that split the difference between Happy Mondays and a psychedelic Led Zeppelin.
It's difficult to take seriously and, unless you think music has to be po-faced to be good, impossible not to like.
When Oasis flamed out in a hail of expletives in 2009, the talk was of Kasabian inheriting their crown. Superficially, there's something to this. Most obviously frontman Tom Meighan has borrowed Liam Gallagher's lager-lout swagger. Moreover, both groups share a rowdy, pints-in-the-air fanbase.
When the moshpit Pizzorno has demanded coalesces near the front of the stage, it's like watching a '70s football riot minus the violence.
Musically, however, the gulf between Kasabian and Oasis is dizzying, with Kasabian swimming in some properly strange waters. Their 2009 LP West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum explored the relationship between madness and art; the follow up, Velociraptor!! is, in part, a meditation on the fleeting nature of young adulthood.
A man more likely to be found discussing 19th-Century philosophy with the Mighty Boosh's Noel Fielding (a long-time friend) than necking lager and getting in fights, Pizzorno had promised Kasabian's new arena show would be thought-provoking audio-visual overload (their last featured quotations from Balzac and Borges).
From where this reviewer was sitting, it was impossible to see the video display properly but the audience appeared to enjoy it: when things really kicked off during the early hit 'Club Foot', the entire standing area seemed to pogo in maniacal unison.
It isn't all groin-thrusting lad rock. One of the new record's stand-outs, 'Le Fee Verte' is a Sgt Pepper-esque homage to the madness- inducing qualities of absinthe, which demonstrates Kasabian carry off floaty pop balladry as effortlessly as molten stadium blitzkriegs. It's nearly enough to restore your faith in gobby British stadium bands with outsized egos and designs on world conquest.