Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the majority of 2014, there’s a very good chance you’ve heard and maybe even secretly loved Clean Bandit’s debut anthem featuring Jess Glynne – Rather Be. To be fair, even if you have been living under a rock… you’ve probably still heard it.
Clean Bandit are a new breed of musician, creating pop infused dance with a twist. Namely, classical instruments. Band members Grace Chatto and Milan Neil Amin-Smith brought a whole new edge to playing the cello and violin (respectively), blending them with drums and keyboard – played by brothers Jack and Luke Patterson – beneath strong female vocalists Elisabeth Troy and Florence Rawlings. Vocals which, as I found out, translate to an outstanding live performance.
Having spent the year travelling not only Europe and the UK, but even making trips to the US, it’s clear that the novelty of Clean Bandit’s style is making an impact globally. Early in the summer they made appearances at several festivals, with high profile slots including Manchester’s Parklife and Glastonbury – but perhaps most notably, University Of Liverpool’s Summer Ball. Now, they’re well into their headline tour of the UK but despite all this, the band are still full of electricity whilst on stage, clearly enjoying every minute.
The O2 Academy is a great venue for a gig like Clean Bandit because it offers just the right amount of space for the audience to really get involved. Dust Clears, a song popular amongst fans of the band, had the crowd moving and sweat covering the walls. One thing that did surprise me about the audience was the amount of middle aged guests in amongst the throng of tipsy students.
My personal highlight of the night goes without saying: Rather Be was what I’d most been looking forward to. This song just embodies the phrase “feel good”, and the audience response brought smiles to the bands’ faces. The setlist also included a much enjoyed cover version of You’ve Got To Show Me Love and the bands newest single (also featuring Jess Glynne) Real Love.
All in all, for relatively new artists, Clean Bandit are natural performers with an eye for innovation – who knew classical instruments and Mozart could be so cool?
WORDS: Alex Gregson