By Christina Croucher
Date / Venue: Tuesday March 4th, Vector Arena, Auckland
Vector Arena flooded in with an all age crowd last night at the much anticipated Rudimental concert. Welcomed in by Gorgon City; electronic DJ duo Matt Scott and Kye Gibbon from the UK. They warmed up those who were already on the dance floor, but the lights didn't go down and the party didn't really start until producer Naughty Boy came on stage with his full band who pumped up the crowd with their bouncing off the walls performance. The live band performed songs off Naughty Boys album Hotel Cabana, as well as chart topping hits; La La La who features Sam Smith and Wonder featuring Emili Sande who has a few collaborations with this high rising producer.
The electric front woman, amazing drummer, charismatic bass player and stand out talented rapper executed these songs brilliantly. The audience sang along with the powerhouse vocalist to the well-known hits word for word, stoked to hear familiar radio hits executed really well live. Naughty Boy and his crew were beaming during the performance, feeding off the excited energy of the Auckland crowd. Naughty Boy stated that the crowd stood out far beyond the crowds at their recent shows in Australia.
The energy continued to multiply as Rudimental (Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor and Leon Rolle) with 5 other musicians took over the stage. There was one soulful male vocalist, two high energy female singers, a trumpet player, drummer, synth bassist/keyboardist, guitarist, DJ and the hype man. The vocals were absolute powerhouse taking turns of fronting the well-known tracks; a big stand out being Not Giving In. The atmosphere was full of life, and the band was pumping with a wild energy; you could call them a hot mess. Their recorded music is far more structured where the music live is more playful and improvised; saying this it was executed brilliantly and came off as extremely well practiced.
The vocalists including standout performer Anne-Marie must of been drinking some magic juice cos they were still flying crazy around the stage 1 ½ hours later completely full of as much, if not ,more energy and vocal control than at the start of the performance. The trumpet player got applauded with every solo, while on the other hand DJ Locksmith (Leon Rolle) wasn't adding so much music to the group last night but was focused on being the party starter. At times he came across as too forced with vodka sculling, rubbing up the singers and not seeming to get as much hype as he wanted from the crowd. All the popular favourites Feel the Love, Free, Waiting all Night and Hell Could Freeze Over were played and the rest consisted of uplifting drum and bass, a pinch of awesome instrumental fuelled dub step, dancehall and a few doses of full on disco fever thrown in the mix too; choreography included. They put on a show alright, and had a lot of fun doing it. Rudimental is bursting with rhythm, talent and busting at the seams with stage presence which was what I think we all hoped to see from the band that has a reputation for a great live act.
Despite a few obvious backing track slip ups the musicianship showcased throughout the night was amazing and the calibre of the talent and performance showed why the UK's on a pedestal of the dance scene.