Live: Clean Bandit
By Dinesh Mattu
11th March 2015
For a group that met as Cambridge undergraduates, world domination was only a matter of time. Unless you lived under a rock over the past year then there’s no way in the world you can’t have heard the monster hit ‘Rather Be’ which won a Grammy for Best Dance Record back in February. Fresh from their recent heroics in LA, Clean Bandit, along with support from Jess Glynne, give a sold out O2 Apollo a genre-defying performance that is full of soul and plenty of violin.
Glynne opens the show with her unique and soulful vocals on ‘Ain’t Got Far To Go’, which is a clean, motown-style, loose piano-led jam that fits superbly with her distinct tones. Her breakout hit ‘My Love’ with Route 94 still sits as the best showcase for her voice, starting out as an acoustic rendition of the song before getting into full swing; you sense her distinct talent will serve her well in the months and years to come.
Warmed up and ready for the main act, Clean Bandit step out to a heavy bass-driven, light-flickering mirage of mystical sounds and sweeping vocals. ‘New Eyes’ comes across as a Hip-Hop trap-style beat and isn’t anything like their commercial sound whatsoever.
Intriguingly, an array of instruments including a minimalist cello and a midi saxophone stand boldly on stage and are brought to life one by one through a diverse range of styles from Drum & Bass (‘Up Again’) to a reggae-influenced summer beat (‘Come Over’) and of course the familiar dance/house grooves we know all too well (‘Real Love’ and ‘Rather Be’).
The diversity in their music is marvellously refreshing and you can tell each band member has come from very different musical backgrounds. From Grace Chatto and Milan Neil Amin-Smith’s training as classical musicians in Cambridge to guest vocalist Elisabeth Troy’s underground/Jungle upbringing in London, the fusion is ambitious and on the whole doesn’t disappoint.
The standout talent in the band is Jack Patterson who sits humbly in the background, going from keyboard to sax to bass guitar throughout the gig and provides that stroke of behind-the-scenes genius every great band has over the course of the two or so hour-long performance.
The group truly leave the best until last in an encore that comprises of a flawless cover of Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’ and the final song ‘Rather Be’ for which they aptly reintroduce Glynne on stage and finish the night off as strongly as they started it.
Judging by their live show it is undeniable the band have talent in abundance, however it will be interesting to see how this translates commercially in 2015 and how (if even possible) to outdo their immense first single.