To put this in perspective, the last time Kasabian played in Los Angeles the Fonda Theatre was still called the Henry Fonda and George W. Bush was only halfway through his second term. It was October 11, 2006 and Kasabian was in support of their third album Empire. It took almost six years for Kasabian to come back to Los Angeles (not completely their fault) and last night was a triumphant return for the UK superstars. With the bass turned to its maximum level and five albums worth of material to perform, their performance last night was a cohesion of perfect sound quality and an invigorating live experience.
To put it simply, I’ve never heard such deafening and mind-rattling bass from a rock n’ roll band in my life. DJ sets, heavy electronic bands, and your slew of industrial bands aside, Kasabian had the bass turned up to it’s highest level possible without causing harm to the audience last night. Taking the stage around 10:15, Tom Meighan emerged from the side of the stage with a light denim jean coat, sunglasses, and a beard. An odd look indeed, but he’s the frontman to a British rock band, so what else would you expect? The band opened with “Days Are Forgotten” from their latest album Velociraptor!. The crowd immediately embraced the band and this unique opportunity to see them live in the States. Kasabian is playing Saturday at Coachella, but with only a 50 minute time slot. Not enough Coachella, not enough. So the true fans were in attendance last night at the Fonda.
When listening to a Kasabian album, the bass line is always evident. There is a keyboard and synth foundation to many of their songs that has always given Kasabian a different sound compared to their UK counterparts. Taking some ques from UK legends The Prodigy, many times the songs blend an electronic and modern rock style. Towards the end of their set last night, the band payed homage to this influence with an outro of “Smack My Bitch Up” from The Prodigy. The bass was overpowering at times last night, literally rattling the floor of the Fonda on songs such as “Underdog”, “Clubfoot” and “Switchblade Smiles”. Overpowering felt right though, as the songs hit with a vivacity that few bands can accomplish live. Kasabian sounds just as good live as they do on their albums, but throw in the power of multiple stage amps and a crowd willing to sing along to every song, and you have the ultimate Kasabian experience.
Lead guitarist Serge Pizzorno was in fantastic form, even getting a few songs to belt out himself. “Take Aim” was a highlight of the night, allowing Serge to take the spotlight in one of the purest rock moments of their performance. Swinging his guitar back and forth, he was a personality on stage that you were forced to keep an eye on. Which is really saying something, because Tom Meighan was at his best last night as well. While many singers would hide their voice behind the precision of a band like Kasabian and let the synth and electronic moments drive the music, Meighan should be commended for having his vocals turned up to the perfect level. There was no hiding for Tom, as you could hear every lyric and word in perfect clarity over the music. His voice was right on, giving each song the proper lyrical perfection they deserve.
Kasabian was everything their mystique has built them up to be. While they are bona fide festival headliners in the UK, they would be hard pressed to sell out the Wiltern in Los Angeles. That’s OK. For those who have been with the band since day one, or have picked up along the way, the ability to see Kasabian in a smaller club or theatre setting should not be passed up. Their performance last night was just as invigorating as their recorded tracks- not an easy task but one Kasabian lived up to and surpassed in many ways last night at the Fonda. Let’s do it again real soon boys.
Notes: Tom Meighan dedicated “Thick As Thieves” to Peter Hayes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club who was back stage last night ~ The Fonda has went through a name change recently, but that’s the only recognizable difference as everything inside is the same ~ The band paid homage to N.W.A. a few times during their set, even encouraging the crowd to throw up the N.W.A. sign
1. Days Are Forgotten
2. Shoot the Runner
5. Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To
7. Thick as Thieves
8. Take Aim
9. Club Foot
10. Re Wired
11. Goodbye Kiss
12. Fast Fuse
13. L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)
14. Switchblade Smiles
15. Vlad the Impaler
(“Smack My Bitch Up” Outro)
All photos taken by @ElFidoMx