When the pink countdown clock at the back of the stage reaches 0:00, fuelling anticipation from its initial start time of 48:13 (the title of Kasabian’s latest album), a great cheer booms out from Victoria Park as the band take to the stage. Sporting a t-shirt with ‘Les-tah’ emblazoned on its front, guitarist Serge Pizzorno waves around a pair of big foam hands whilst frontman Tom Meighan is bug-eyed in a black suit. With Bumblebee buzzing into life, it is clear that the boys are here to have fun as well as to put on a monster of a show.
Shoot The Runner, Underdog and Fast Fuse form an opening barrage that gets the 50,000-strong crowd bouncing. Processed Beats from their debut album begins with the intro from House of Pain’s Jump Around and slims the pace from explosive to a mean swagger. As an outro, Pizzorno raps Grandmaster Flash’s The Message before Stevie, one of the highlights from 48:13, proves its worth and successfully makes the transition from album to live set.
Meighan effortlessly settles into his role of chief instigator, constantly pumping up the crowd, addressing them with “Victoria Park put your hands in the air” and “Leicester…how you doing?”, all of course met with a frenzied response. There are undoubted elements of laddish bravado at play, not least evident in the array of Leicester City football flags that sway in the crowd. But this isn’t all that they are about – there are deft elements of showmanship to the gig too. The trumpet segue way of The Doberman into Take Aim accompanied by a string section dressed as skeletons are both aural and visual treats. It is at this point that Meighan briefly walks offstage allowing Pizzorno to take the spotlight. He comes back on to lead a fist-punching chorus of oohs for Club Foot before the electrified Re-Wired and a laser guided Treat bring us to an incendiary Fire, marking the end of the main set.
A quick costume change for Pizzorno results in a t-shirt with the words ‘Eez-eh’ and his trademark black hat. Switchblade Smiles from 2011’s Velociraptor and Vlad The Impaler from 2009’s West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum provide a suitably banging start to the encore. “10 years ago we were playing shitholes and here we are now with you lot,” are the words that ring out from an elated and humbled Meighan as a cover of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You strikes up. With L.S.F bringing the gig to a triumphant close there is a feeling that this is the one that really matters. In a rare moment, bassist Chris Edwards takes to the mic and says “So thanks Leicester. You’ve made my fucking year.” Glastonbury may be just round the corner but tonight they are happy to be home.
Words: Andrew Gutteridge