Gig review: Rudimental @ Manchester O2 Apollo

Fame has come fast for the north London quartet.

In 2012 they stepped into the mainstream from London’s gritty underground scene with Feel the Love, a chart-topping sonic experiment of neo-soul fused with fraught drum and bass.

Since then, the band have acquired two number one singles, a number one best-selling album Home, three Brit nominations and one Brit win for single Waiting All Night – a juxtaposition of symphonic vocals dripped gently over a tide of butchered breaks.

Successful, no doubt. Even so, Rudimental have remained unshackled from rigid music classification while pushing the values of harmony with a contagious blend of gospel, jazz, and an electronic twist.

And they rave. Hard.

There are 10 people on stage here at the sold-out Apollo, all poised under a prism of spotlights blowing gold and blue and silver through an audience cranked on booze and half-mad on drugs.

There is no serenity here. The drummer, seven-piece-strong and centre back opens with rapturous snares easing into the sanguine textures of Right Here featuring Foxes. The building shakes.

Locksmith, front and left, locked in by a wall of turntables and synthesizers teases in the down-paced undersong of Home, which creeps across the theatre like an anaesthetic gas. The crowd are silent. They grind agog.

There are bass players here, keys players and three backing vocalists who have inhaled the work of John Newman, Alex Clare and Emeli Sandé and are breathing out Free, Powerless, and Not Giving In as fearlessly as the namesake of the tunes they perform.

After cutting effortlessly through the playlist of Home, the lights dim, the floor trembles and Locksmith calls to the crowd for homage – silence ensues.

Suddenly, a tirade of hellish drum loops pour from the stage and crash through the symphony of UK Apache’s old-school classic Original Nuttah, stewed with DJ Hype’s acclaimed Super Sharp Shooter only minutes before the curtains closed.

This ending crescendo is a nod to the past, a gesture that says: “You all know where we are now, but this is from where we came.”

It is a humble finish. Rudimental sound at Home.    

Picture courtesy of Kmeron, with thanks.

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