Review: UK dance crew Rudimental conquers new Dubai music festival Love Music Your Way

One step forward and two steps back, that could be the Rudimental motto. No sleight is intended — it’s this respectful raiding of musical traditions past and present that makes the UK outfit so fascinating and entertaining. The dance-centric crew are primarily a studio act, but onstage everything is reworked with live instruments, the core […]

One step forward and two steps back, that could be the Rudimental motto.

No sleight is intended — it’s this respectful raiding of musical traditions past and present that makes the UK outfit so fascinating and entertaining.

The dance-centric crew are primarily a studio act, but onstage everything is reworked with live instruments, the core quartet boosted to an eight-piece juggernaut of frenetic beats, monster basslines, brass stabs and massive choruses all rolled into one inclusive sound tailor made for festivals.

Headlining Friday’s inaugural Love Music Your Way all-day event at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, it marked Rudimental’s third full UAE gig in less than three years — but there was no sense of malaise. This time they returned with rafts of new tunes from last year’s second album, We the Generation. Highlights included the frenetic bounce of the title track, I Will for Love and Love Ain’t Just a Word. Both Ed Sheeran vehicles, Lay it All On Me and Bloodstream, were performed back-to-back.

But it was the massive anthems from 2013’s scene-stealing Home which won over the already adoring crowd. The smouldering build-up and crazed breakdown to Not Giving In was sublime. Leaving the stage after set-closer Feel the Love, the audience were actually told to stop chanting the evergreen chorus so the band could get on with the encore which included the mania of Waiting All Night.

It was simply stellar stuff; by incorporating funk, soul and reggae influences on top of those signature drum n’ bass beats Rudimental have hit a winning formula and their high-octane live sets aren’t at risk of getting old anytime soon.

Earlier in the evening, co-headliners Disclosure warmed things up with a solid set of driving house. Kicking off with When a Fire Starts to Burn, which opens their 2013’s breakout LP Settle, the British brother act locked into a throbbing pulse which didn’t halt for an hour.

Dressed in matching plain black T-shirts, with identical blonde hair cuts, and making synchronised head convulsions, there was something relentlessly robotic about the duo. Interestingly, their set was the antithesis of Rudimental’s organic, come-all street party vibe.

Other highlights included UK R&B survivor Ms Dynamite, who proved every bit as potent as her early 2000s heyday, pounding the stage and attacking the mic with vigour.

The festival’s youthful contingent was rewarded with a fleeting, five-song set from Jasmine Thompson. The 15-year-old bookended new original material with her duo of breakout hits, opening with Robin Schulz’s Sun Goes Down and closing with her utterly cool cover of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody. Performing with grace, control and charisma, the British teen will almost certainly be huge before she turns 18.

In the sundown slot was Bipolar Sunshine, who showcased his intriguing brand of confessional urban/indie (just call it “grey”, he says). He owned the stage but fell short in the vocal department.

Bizarrely, for many at their first concert — and there were plenty for whom that will be the case — the highlight could well be DJ Charlesy who is — as the banner behind reminded us — “Tinie Tempah’s Official DJ”. It was a bizarre decision to hand 45 minutes of prime stage time to a DJ few people had heard of and to play other people’s music. It kind of worked, however. His mix of radio anthems gave the assembled teenagers all the platform they needed to dance self-consciously (or otherwise).

Making a surprise return to the stage before Rudimental, Charlesy stole another honourable mention with a touching tribute to Prince by dropping ten-minutes of the Purple One’s most popular tunes.

It is not yet clear if Love Music Your Way was a one off, or will become a consistent calendar date. Judging by the quality of its first edition, here’s hoping it’s the latter.

rgarratt@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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