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What's the story with the word "bumble", eh? There it is, flashing across a giant screen in pink and black. Because Kasabian, we're told, would have us believe that there's a sort of arty, conceptual method to their madness. A string section in skeleton outfits; further snippets from the colourful Kasabian Wordbook (what the heck is a "two-er?"); ironic hipster shirts (guitarist Sergio Pizzorno's reads 'casserole'); apocalyptic countdowns - indeed, there are plenty of (necessary) distractions in place.

What's the story with the word "bumble", eh? There it is, flashing across a giant screen in pink and black. Because Kasabian, we're told, would have us believe that there's a sort of arty, conceptual method to their madness. A string section in skeleton outfits; further snippets from the colourful Kasabian Wordbook (what the heck is a "two-er?"); ironic hipster shirts (guitarist Sergio Pizzorno's reads 'casserole'); apocalyptic countdowns - indeed, there are plenty of (necessary) distractions in place.

That's the thing about Tom Meighan and chums' boisterous brand of distorted, psychedelic twists down Britpop lane - it's just not very good. In fact Kasabian, with their angular haircuts, plastic bravado and football terrace 'anthems', might just be the ultimate NME band (all style and no substance). So, how come their live shows continue to blow us away?

Arms outstretched, shirt and tie on, Leicester boy Meighan (33) is proper front man material, and though he and his band of merry warriors will never top any critics' best-of lists, they do at least give the arenas a proper go, blinding us with outstanding visuals and charging ahead with brash electronic sweeps, raucous riffs and infectious chants. Now, five albums deep, there's plenty of ground to cover, but it says a lot that the night's biggest crowd-pleasers are from the group's earlier records (it's been a while since Kasabian wrote a tune like Club Foot, or the cracking Fire). Beer-tossing, shirts-off, crowd-surfing lad rock? Oh yes, Kasabian try so hard, it'd make the Gallagher brothers blush, sprinkling an atmospheric and occasionally magnificent set with neat samples (Fatboy Slim's Praise You) and hilarious declarations. "F*** work tomorrow!" exclaims Sergio. Oh, okay then. HHHII


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