Opening a show like Rudimental’s can’t be an easy task. Originally listed as the only supporting artists of the night, Bipolar Sunshine became the opening act after the addition of Redlight to the bill. Bipolar Sunshine are a strange act to pair with Rudimental, as the sound produced from their four members comes across more as an indie band than the electronic/funk mashup of the headliners, but they give the audience a good show.
The stage at Brixton (for those of you who haven’t experienced it) is all indoors, but was created in a way that makes it look like an outdoor festival stage. Bipolar Sunshine’s set gave of a festival style sound of something bigger than itself, which, considering their instrumentation, is something that’s rarely achieved from a relatively new, modern band. Given their differing genre to the main act, they seemed to set a calm before the storm, with perfect harmonies coming from the vocal lines. It felt a bit Bloc Party with hints of Junip (with those gorgeous aforementioned vocal lines), but unfortunately it was their leading single ‘The River’ which let them down. Being a heavier and more exciting song than a lot of their other pieces, the energy given from them was suddenly doubled, which in any other setting would’ve been perfect. But, the mix of sound given was inappropriate, with far too much focus on the bass which then overshadowed everything else. Being one of the few tracks the audience knew (it was featured on iTunes as ‘single of the week’), it was disappointing to hear it come across in such a way – especially when the rest of their set was so moving and beautiful to hear.
Entering the middle section of the night was the well known DJ Redlight, there as the warm-up act for the mighty Rudimental. The crowd was now packing in to the main standing area, and the vibe in the venue was starting to change. Now there was more focus on heavy bassline beats, lights and getting the audience to dance. Within a few tracks, the crowd were moving around as if it were a club, with glow sticks and a significant element of electricity in the air. Perhaps due to the genre of music or due to the higher-priority slot on the bill, the sound was far superior to the preceding Sunshine; which directly translated back as more audience participation. By 20:30, when the feeling was good and the air changed, it was time to prepare for the headline act.
Unfortunately, there was at least 45 minutes to wait before they would arrive. The ramp up via Redlight was almost a faint memory by the time the lights went down for Rudimental to take the stage, but they certainly know how to make an entrance. With a large white sheet covering their stage, three drummers silhouetted against it start to bang a rhythm out on timpani style drums, followed by their trumpeter. As this starts to build, the sheet falls – revealing a large set of totally live instrumentation and backing singers, all against the album artwork in the background. DJ Locksmith instantly arrives at the forefront, and supported by Amir, Kesi and Piers they all break into a mammoth set.
With the full backing of live players, their tracks become something new from their recorded versions, something more fun than before. At one point, Locksmith tells the audience how Rudimental are a family, and from their performance it certainly rings true. The main vibe from their show is that they all have FUN. Their smiles are miles wide, they even have some synchronized dance routines incorporating the entire band. They crack out all the favourites that we know and love such as ‘Feel The Love’ and ‘Free’, and use a break for their encore. The encore is a bit bizarre in reality. The first two songs they play are majorly downtempo, which brings everybody in the crowd right back down. But they choose to end on the massive single ‘Waiting All Night’, grabbing the crowd back to full speed and wrenching every person up from the floor.
Overall, for a 90 minute set, they control, play with and finally supercharge the audience, cementing their names in the list of acts to go and see on their next tour.