Best Concerts of Sziget 2017 #3: Kasabian

I hereby solemnly promise to spare you any of the discourses of a running bore (or any other type of bore, for that matter, but mercifully I have not yet seen the light of either veganism or some exotic cult, nor do I plan to.) However, indulge me the pleasure of telling you that Kasabian are my absolute go to when it comes to running music. I have experimented with several other bands and even came up with a couple of purpose built playlists, but then I realized I was just wasting my time instead of simply pushing shuffle to the Kasabian discography.

Admittedly, you’ll get a couple of slow tracks, but they’re the perfect breather in between periods when you don’t simply run (and particularly don’t jog- nobody dares jog to Fast Fuse)- you swagger. There’s just an extra cockiness to the tunes which makes your passing an arthritic gentleman a feat of illustrious bravery and when you turn the corner under Árpád bridge, you don’t slow down for the bend but speed up, like entering the roaring stadium with a record breaking marathon time.

If you want to max the feeling out, the best choice is the live recording of their King Power Stadium concert, held in the wake of Leicester’s miraculous title winning campaign. Here come the tracks interspersed with the occasional banter, singing happy birthday to mums and Claudio Ranieri explaining with a clipped Italian accent how his team would go out to the field to Kasabian songs, the underdog waiting for the day of their fall. The four second improvement of your lap time hardly bears comparison with Leicester toppling one Premiership giant after another, but for about another four seconds, it will still feel like it.

Their Sziget gig was obviously not as emotionally charged as the one in Leicester, few, perhaps none of their concerts will ever have all the planets aligning quite like that, but it was still evident that they reveled in a headline slot that should have been theirs much earlier. All good Kasabian concerts have a strange element to them: they seem to be almost self-indulgent, the bullish quality of the tunes and the Tom-Serge bromance coming to the forefront, with lots of manly hugging, calls for mosh pit action and Serge only temporarily remembering that he’s also meant to play that guitar- lucky for Tom that he’s not really supposed to man any instrument himself.

But it’s exactly this lightheartedness that makes them so compelling in the end: these are excellent songs, absolute hit material by guitar music standards, filling the giant field in front of the Main Stage with the special static only the select few are capable to project. Why not make it look fun then, why not make it look simple, like they’re hardly trying and just chatting with us about football, the weather and girls, why not make it look, pardon me, ee-zeh. Because somebody has to take it ee-zeh for all of us mortal sinners, and these lads from Leicester have taken it upon themselves to try. And when you’re trying something to Kasabian songs well, it’s elementary: you succeed.

 

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