Rudimental – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Thursday April 26
Originally published in the Nottingham Post.
Along with fellow travellers such as Disclosure and Duke Dumont, Rudimental are breathing fresh life into the upper reaches of the singles chart. Breaking the stranglehold of the increasingly indistinguishable R&B/Eurohouse club bangers which have dominated pop for too long, their take on dance music draws influences from classic house, UK garage and drum & bass, with an emphasis on soulfulness and songcraft. It’s an eclectic, multi-cultural brew, which reflects the band’s diverse backgrounds.
As a live proposition, they worked brilliantly, energising the crowd from the moment that they took to the stage, and generating a powerful, unifying rapport. Although vocalist John Newman was absent on the night, the three singers – Sinead Harnett, Tom Jules and Ella Eyre (who also performed a support set) – did a fine job, swapping lead vocals and sharing the front of the stage with their irrepressible MC, DJ Locksmith.
The set spanned a wide range of musical styles. The moody deep house of Spoons flowed seamlessly into Baby, lovingly duetted by Sinead and Tom. Hell Could Freeze flitted between Tom’s uptempo rapping and Ella’s slow-burning, Erykah Badu-styled balladry, before morphing unexpectedly into Skream’s disco-tinged remix. Taking the place of Emeli Sande, who contributes a couple of guest vocals on the band’s forthcoming debut album Home, Ella laid gospelly vocals on top of its closing track Free: a pop-rock chugger with an instantly memorable chorus.
A crowd-pleasing cover of The Fugees’ Ready Or Not slid into a furious drum & bass workout, which segued straight into the opening refrain of Rudimental’s first chart-topper, Feel The Love. It was a stunning moment, which raised energy levels through the roof.
Another cover kicked off the encore: Paramore’s Now, performed as a medley with Bob Marley’s Sun Is Shining. Then, at last, it was time for the biggest track of all: Waiting All Night, this week’s Number One single in the UK. It’s not often that a venue of the size of the Rescue Rooms gets to play host to a current chart-topper, so we relished the treat. The ovation was thunderous, and the band looked visibly moved. “We’ll never forget tonight”, said Locksmith. A truly special show.