Gig review: Rudimental at O2 Academy Leeds

Rudimental at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: David Hodgson
Rudimental at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: David Hodgson
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Rudimental blasted themselves onto the UK music scene in a big way in 2012 after only two years of trying. And in Rudimental’s case, big means big.

Their debut album Home spawned both a number of hit singles but also reinforced the careers of a variety of singers, Ella Eyre, John Newman, Emeli Sande and Alex Clare amongst them.

It’s easy to see why all these front people want to be associated with the band. They have a big, no, massive sound. David Bowie now famously refused to front a Coldplay record with ‘it’s not a very good song, is it?’ It’s hard to imagine any self-respecting hip-hop or soulful, chart-friendly modern day singer having the same opinion about the tunes on offer from this stable.

The four guys from London have essentially taken drum and bass type rhythms and made them accessible. With the support of thought-provoking videos, Rudimental have been nominated for a Mercury Music Prize, MOBO awards and have won Brits and Platinum awards for record sales. A big haul for any band.

This gig at Leeds’ O2 Academy in support of new album We The Generation sold out some time ago. The place was packed. The band burst onto the stage, through firstly intro music which was so bass-heavy the speakers were operating right on their limits (at occasions beyond them) and straight into opening track Right Here.

Throughout the set the number of musicians on stage varied, up to a maximum of around 11, the singer changing for most of the songs, each one bringing a different vibe to the songs, from Bridgitte Amofah blasting out Right Here to Will Heard’s soul enriching voice on Go Far to Heard being joined by Anne-Marie as the perfect foil on Rumour Mill.

The set list was unnervingly familiar single after familiar single, you don’t realise you know so many, but that’s because Rudimental’s music and energy is addictive and all encompassing.

The set list was unnervingly familiar single after familiar single, you don’t realise you know so many, but that’s because Rudimental’s music and energy is addictive and all encompassing. The entire venue sang every chorus, without the aid of the band on Feel the Love, and bounced every bassline.

The last few songs of the set were performed under ribbons and ticker tape that had become entangled on the lighting rig as a result of their explosion from the stage. Rudimental don’t need any more gimmicks than that, there’s barely any spare room on the stage in any event, as the main attraction is sheer unadulterated raw energy.

Their tunes are strong, the bass lines they generate massive and big enough to recalibrate a heartbeat. Yes, there is a formula to what they do but then there’s a formula to a lot of things in life but few are as addictive, as fun and as capable of leaving so many people on a high having been totally immersed in Rudimental’s world, where everything just seems, well, big.

Paul Draper. Picture: Tom Sheehan

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