O2 Academy, Glasgow ★★★★☆
RUDIMENTAL will perform on much bigger stages than the one at the O2 Academy Glasgow in support of their long-delayed forthcoming third album Toast To Our Differences.
Not only because they’ll deserve to but also because they’ll have to — they could barely all fit on this one.
Stuffed with as many as 12 musicians at peak times, the triple-tier set-up hived with so much activity it was hard to take it all in.
A tag-team of five singers including Ella Henderson, Bridget Amofah and Afronaut Zu threw the lead vocals back and forth, while horns players roamed along a raised walkway behind drummer Beanie.
Everyone was egged on all the while by hyperactive hypeman DJ Locksmith, who had dressed like he was about to do a workout in shorts, T-shirt and trainers — and for good reason, considering the sweat he must have generated.
The sprawling London ensemble have made their name since 2011 with a string of fizzing but formulaic singles based around towering drum’n’bass drops. But they are broadening their sound in a way that suits the spirit of riotous diversity that their multi-racial, cross-gender live line-up so joyfully encapsulates.
Reggae, soul, jungle, electronica and plenty of that signature galloping drum’n’bass all jostled for position in a set that overflowed with big hits, from Sun Comes Up and Free to Ed Sheeran collaborations Bloodstream and Lay It All On Me.
There was even a Rudimental-ised cover of Rag’n’Bone Man’s Human.
With John Newman, Ella Eyre and most recently Anne-Marie all having graduated from the Rudimental guest vocal fame academy, the latest crop will each be well aware what an opportunity it is to sing with them.
All are worthy of the chance, and Afronaut Zu and former X Factor contestant Henderson in particular seized their moments with a soaring Feel The Love and a celebratory These Days at the finish.