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Live Review: Rudimental
Rudimental bring their highly-anticipated carnival of a tour to the West Midlands, Emily Modaresi reviews
After dominating the UK and US charts over the past few years, the British four-piece collective Rudimental tore up the stage at Birmingham’s O2 Academy in October. The gig opened to vibrant Caribbean beat of steel-pans, which echoed through the academy on their track ‘Right Here’, which featured on their debut album, Home, back in 2013.
With double digits of musicians crowding the stage, it truly was an exhibit of our young British talent. The multi-instrumentalist group included singers such as the talented Bridgette Amofah and X-factor finalist Ella Henderson, who all circulated and took centre stage at various points of the set. There is always a worry with collaborative groups such as Rudimental that their live performances will feel disconnected, especially if the stars they work with, who their fans love and associate with their songs, are absent from the set. Yet, this unique set-up was distinctive, garnering the attention of the audience throughout their one-and-a-half-hour performance.
“With double digits of musicians crowding the stage, it truly was an exhibit of our young British talent
The opening track was followed shortly by a crowd favourite ‘Not Giving In’, and a zealous rendition of their most recent song ‘Toast to Our Differences’, also the name of their upcoming album, scheduled for release in January 2019. Will Heard made a guest appearance on the house tracks ‘I Will for Love’ and ‘Rumour Mill’. With his cheeky boy-like charisma, Heard fed off the energy of his fellow artists, clambering up and down the levelled set. His performance was multi-dimensional, much like Rudimental’s own musical style.
The ensemble jumped, sang and vibed across the stage like nobody was watching - and the happy-go-lucky crowd were easily susceptible to their radiating fun. The quartet also entertained the arena with a host of songs from their more recent work We The Generation, with tracks such as ‘Bloodstream’ and ‘Lay It All On Me’. The occasional jazzy interludes of velvety saxophones and fluttering trumpets transformed their dance-based sound into something quite wholesome.
“The ensemble jumped, sang and vibed across the stage like nobody was watching - and the happy-go-lucky crowd were easily susceptible to their radiating fun
Their set was a wild multi-sensory experience, drenching the crowd in a rainbow of strobing lights. The audience weren’t passive onlookers, this gig was like an underground rave in which we were all invited. The crowd’s energy certainly had its peaks and troughs throughout the evening but the group’s DJ Locksmith worked the stage tirelessly to keep the energy soaring and the crowd jumping.
“Their set was a wild multi-sensory experience, drenching the crowd in a rainbow of strobing lights. The audience weren’t passive onlookers, this gig was like an underground rave in which we were all invited
But the end was where the crowd’s energy truly reached its zenith. The group left fan favourites right till the last minute, with ‘Feel the love’ and ‘Waiting All Night’, arguably their biggest hits. After the lights went dark and the ensemble left the stage, the group were beckoned back by a chanting crowd. Rudimental returned to perform their Number One single ‘These Days’, igniting the audience with a euphoric buzz one last time.
After seeing Rudimental at the Sundown Festival back in 2015, it’s clear the boys have really mastered their style since then, with live performances bursting with a vitality that many in the music industry today would struggle to match. Their fan base was surprisingly varied, which goes to show the universal nature of Rudimental’s music. Spotted in the crowd were glittered teens, parents with young children and a handful of the older generation, whose moves were giving the youngsters a run for their money. The crowd was spoiled with a night of glorious funk, jazz, house and drum’n’bass. Their gig was a colourful and hyperactive mayhem - but it worked. Rudimental’s live style is authentic, seeing the collective live only evokes a new-found respect for their craft.