Following the June release of their debut album ‘New Eyes’, Clean Bandit’s 2014 UK Tour finally hit Nottingham with their sold out gig at Rock City. There was never any doubt that the band responsible for this year’s fastest selling single, ‘Rather Be’ would pull off a great set, yet even with these credentials they still managed to exceed our expectations.
A brilliant electro pop set from support Years & Years warmed up the crowd and left us buzzing with anticipation. As the lights went dark Rock City erupted with cheers to Clean Bandit’s signature string intro to the popular song ‘A&E’, an appropriate start for a band known for their fusion of classical and electronic.
Rock City erupted with cheers to Clean Bandit’s signature string intro
Our biggest concern for the performance of their most popular material was the lack of guest singers, such as Jess Glynne, whose distinct voices always give the songs a unique edge. However lead vocalists Elizabeth Troy, Florence Rawlings and Grace Chatto had no trouble putting their own twist on new and classic tracks. Their incredible harmonies and soulful voices resonated around Rock City and never failed to show off the versatility of Clean Bandit’s music.
After a few of their popular songs, Grace Chatto announced that they were about to premier a new one , ‘Stronger’. This was written as a collaboration with their support act Years & Years, something they seemed humbled by and grateful for. The up beat house electro tune was an immediate hit, with catchy lyrics allowing the crowd to be singing along within minutes. Definitely one to look out for on the charts in the future.
What stood out the most throughout their entire performance was the energy and passion the band members gave off. It was obvious to the crowd that they are all genuinely good mates that were having the time of their lives. The vocalists all danced with each other throughout and showed off some choreographed moves in the reggae tune ‘Come Over’. Things even got a bit steamy between Florence and violinist, Milan Neil Amin-Smith, the crowd picked up on this as they cheered on the flirtations.
Every lyric was screamed across Rock City to the point where you almost couldn’t hear the band.
The amount of musical talent Clean Bandit possesses became much clearer watching them live and it became obvious that the classical elements of their music get slightly overlooked on their recorded tracks. The strings in ‘Extraordinary’ and ‘Heart on Fire’, for example, were a lot more prominent and their live set gave a lot more credit to the array of instruments than the studio versions. You got to physically see the mash up of classical instruments like the violin and cello with an otherwise electronic set. Pianist and drummer Jack and Luke Patterson shouldn’t be dismissed however, as their beats and bass drops made the crowd go wild and got everyone dancing in hits like ‘Up Again’.
The crowd was left wanting more after their closing song, ‘Nightingale’ and continued to cheer for an encore as the stage went dark. After moments of chanting, whistling and sheer hysteria Clean Bandit re-emerged to a fantastic cover of 90’s hit ‘Show Me Love’. And finally, the moment Rock City had been waiting and hoping for… the string intro to ‘Rather Be’. Every lyric was screamed across Rock City to the point where you almost couldn’t hear the band, showing just how far Clean Bandit have come in the last few years. Milan took a selfie with the crowd just before coming off stage, obviously humbled by the great reception.
After this incredible gig, we’re excited to see what’s next in store for the quartet.
Kornelia Bala and Rachel Berkoff