Live Review: The Rubens own the stage as they bring 0202 to the Margaret River

Aussie alt-rockers The Rubens are yet another band who’ve been denied the opportunity to tour their latest album due to COVID restrictions, but they are making up for it right now.

In fact, The Rubens have been making hay while the sun shines, travelling the length of the country in support of their latest studio album 0202, which was released in February.

The album title itself is in reference to a “backyard year” while their maiden single off the LP, ‘Live in Life’ (also the original tour name) was released in November 2019, so it’s all been a long time coming.

The Menangle five-piece hit WA’s South-West with a Thursday night show at Margaret River’s The River, coinciding with the hugely popular Margaret River Pro global surfing event, thus it was a sold-out gig.

There was a level of irony that the quintet was tightly packed on stage at the intimate venue in front of a healthy but well dispersed crowd amid WA’s latest round of COVID restrictions, which ensured tickets were like hen’s teeth in the lead-up.

Frontman Sam Margin swanned around with his usual swagger, with a fresh bleached cut.

Four albums in, The Rubens have plenty of big singles, but they played a healthy dose of their latest album, saving hits like ‘Hoops’ and ‘My Gun’ for later on in the set.

The infectious ‘Heavy Weather’ and ‘Masterpiece’, both singles off 0202, were standouts for a band who’ve down the rounds before.

Sam, one of three brothers in the band, leads the group’s presence with a level of confidence and authority that lifts The Rubens. Of course, the hits help, but stage presence is so important and he owns it, while his bandmates seem content to let him claim the focus.

The Rubens delivered a tight set, aided by the intimacy and acoustics of The River, as well as the tourist town’s charm, with a relaxed and positive vibe throughout. Add in their ever growing catalogue of hits, and we can safely say that their status as Australia’s most popular live acts isn’t going anywhere.


The Rubens tour continues until Friday 11 June, with upcoming shows in regional NT, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria. Click here to view the dates & purchase tickets.

The reviewed performance took place at The River on the Margaret River on 6th May 2021. 

Ben Somerford

Aussie freelance journalist, sports, music, entertainment, top 10 lists. Take beach pics too.