Live Review: Rudimental - Channel V Island Party, Sydney (06.03.14)


We’re on a barge in the middle of Sydney Harbour and we’re about to capsize. At least, that’s what it feels like. Because right now, 100 hyped up people are jumping in unison, and the Channel V Island is under some serious pressure. Rudimental are at the helm, and their explosive single “Feel The Love” is the cause for all the commotion. The band already have their shirts off, Mark Crown is showering the front row with sweat while ripping through a trumpet solo as the bass shudders and splinters below the drums. The beat is brutally relentless, a violent, hyperactive mix of house drums and spine shaking bass. When the song ends, and the jumping crowd regain their stance, the Island gives another gentle sway, but rights itself soon after, and all is well. Very well, in fact.

In Australia for Future Music Festival, London quartet Rudimental couldn’t have kicked off the Sydney leg of their tour in more style. Sydney Harbour is certainly putting on a show: the Harbour Bridge and Opera House sit serenely in the background beneath a spectacular fiery sunset. Coupled with the Island’s free food, the draped fairly lights, the sparkling white bar with vodka bottles glittering in the background, and it all becomes a little ridiculously picturesque.

It’s a short but excellent set from the Londoners, and it veers wildly from their own catalogue. For starters, their opening spin mixes Prince and Earth Wind & Fire before it dives quickly into their slow stomper, “Not Giving In”. A quick hop from Ray Charles “Hit The Road Jack” takes us to “Right Here”, and then they throw in some “Bad Boys” – just for good measure. Before the night is over they’ll fling around some Curtis Mayfield, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, Chic and Flume- just in case you forgot that Rudimental were old school DJ’s at heart. When they churn out their originals they remain fairly close to the recordings – “Waiting All Night” comes like a bolt gun to the brain and “Right Here” rides on the edge of sonic chaos.

The best moment of the night doesn’t come in a frenzy though, but rather in the unhurried groove of “Free”. The thudding heartbeat rattles the deck, and people bust their lungs and sing “c’est la vie/ and maybe something’s wrong with me/ but at least/ I am free.” When it’s stripped back to voices and a beat, and played over a glittering Sydney Harbour, even the most jaded have to admit it’s a good feeling. A rather good feeling, in fact.

The next act to play Channel V's Island Party is Bliss N Eso on March 27