Sheltered cozily in a heated bedroom, eating pizza on the floor, and drinking champagne, my best mate Leia presses play on ‘Waiting All Night’ – again. “Dude, stop playing it, we’re literally about to hear it in an hour”, I exclaim, checking my outfit once more in the mirror and asking myself, ‘am I going to be able to pop and lock in this‘? Of course, pre-drinks for any concert involves blasting the ultimate playlist, making sure you’ve got all the lyrics down pat and going through choreographed dance routines to ensure maximum moshpit coolness. But I had full faith in myself, because Rudimental was my jam.
Their lyrics are etched into my mind until the end of time. And just as I was having flashbacks from my not so distant teenage years, noticing Rudimental had ultimately soundtracked those years where I couldn’t stop fighting with my mum, or that time I had my first kiss, the Uber had pulled up outside Margaret Court Arena and it was game on.
Weaving our way through the moshpit, trying to keep as much wine in our cups as possible, we perched ourselves front left as the exquisitely fabulous Connie Mitchell aka lead singer of Sneaky Sound System strode across the stage in a multicoloured jumpsuit.
Sneaky Sound System playing support for the night was like the cherry on top of an already delectable sundae.
They’re the ARIA award-winning duo (formerly trio) who snuck into Australia’s heart with tracks ‘UFO’ and ‘I Love It’, and if you’re unfamiliar with their work then you clearly didn’t own any So Fresh compilation CDs, which begs the questions did you really have a childhood?
Just as the moshpit was beginning to overflow, and I gulped my last sip of wine, Francis’ impeccable vocals begin to soar over the crowd, and the flashbacks to my Grade 6 dance were becoming all too vivid, as we chanted: “I saw a UFO and nobody believes me“. As the lights began to dim, and I regained my breath after getting a dance-induced stitch, the crowd began to stir. The entree was delicious, but it was time for the main course.
In an era that shifts more and more toward electronic music – with rates of DJs higher than ever before – I must say, there is something wonderfully refreshing about seeing an eight piece band on stage holding real-life instruments.
Yes, eight of East London’s most talented musicians stood on stage before us, and as I was counting the performers, perplexed that there were even enough instruments for the number of band members, Rudimental broke into their hit track ‘Not Giving In’ and all hell broke loose. Singers and back up singers jumped up and down energetically, hitting every single note with unprecedented ease, guitarists jogged briskly hardly breaking a sweat, and the drummer perched high up on a platform maintained perfect synchronicity throughout the overwhelmingly complex drum and bass percussive breaks.
Fan favourites ‘Feel The Love’, ‘Rumour Mill’ and ‘I Will For Love‘ were met by a sea of fans being reminded just how many bangers Rudimental had gifted us over the years, interspersed with newer works from their latest album Toast To Our Differences, which had the crowd taking notes of track names, making sure to learn the lyrics before next time.
Banger after banger was bequeathed onto an eagerly awaiting crowd of miscellaneous punters: the teenage girls whose mum got them tickets for their birthdays, the couple who got a sitter for the night, the older gentlemen who really got down for breakbeat and drums and bass re-envisioned through a pop electronic lens, and of course, two “woo” girls, full to the brim with pizza and champagne.
Overcome with a sense of elation, and dodging side-eyes from patrons visibly impressed/alarmed at our level of exertion maintained throughout the hour and a half performance, Rudimental gave us a smile and a wave and waltzed off stage seemingly floating on air.
Leia turns to me, “what the hell they didn’t even play Waiting All Night?” she announces.
“Ummm, yes they did it was like the second song they played” I retort definitively.
“No they didn’t” – “Yes they did!“, “NO, they really didn’t!“…
This parlay went on for a while. Both of us blissfully unaware of the stadium chanting in desperate unison for ‘one more song‘. Just as Leia was ready to put me in a headlock, Rudimental skipped back on stage and broke into ‘Waiting All Night‘. Well, I was wrong. But this time I was happy I was wrong, they absolutely killed it. Pointing their microphones toward the audience at the perfect intervals, the crowd eagerly participated in the finale that certainly rocked the socks off everyone in Margaret Court Arena, even the security guard in front of the barrier who couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.
Living vicariously through the sketchy footage archived on my Instagram story, Rudimental did a hell of a good job bringing some East London finesse to Melbourne on a rainy Sunday night.