Review and photography by Bimal Tailor.

Four time Brit Award nominees, and global hit makers, Clean Bandit, an electronic band that fuse classical, dance and electropop into many of their songs, tonight bring their tour to Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, with support from Starley and Ella Eyre.

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Ella Eyre, dressed in casual sports wear, sang her hits with ease and enthusiasm, finishing her set with a flourish, lights spraying around and huge cheers from crowd as she shouts the name of the main act we’re all here to see.

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Clean Bandit – Grace Chatto, and brothers Jack and Luke Patterson formed in 2008, in Cambridge (with Neil Amin-Smith who left the band in 2016) run on stage (9.30 on the dot) to huge cheers . Centre stage is the beautiful Grace, all glitzed up along with female collaborators, Yasmin Green and Kirsten Joy. Hey Grace, guess what, cool. The boys, Luke and Jack up on plinths, in the back, dressed in their sensible black attire, and as always casually looking ready to bust out the electronic beats. They are all ready to move … as is the crowd.

Every single person in Eventim Apollo (or what we still refer to as, Hammersmith Apollo) singing along to every word as they start with 2015’s ‘Stronger’ featuring unaccredited vocals by Alex Newell and Sean Bass, brother of Sharna Bass (who sings the vocals of Clean Bandit’s hit ‘Extraordinary’). This track enables Yasmin Green to show off her vocal strengths with high peaks within the song which set the tone for the rest of the gig.

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‘Cologne’ is up next; a more mellow garage vibe (of a similar vibe to Artful Dodger songs from ‘It’s All About the Stragglers’) which delights and you can now visibly see the audience getting into it. Not a sold out gig (as a steward tells me, looks pretty full to me) but fandits – as the fans of Clean Bandit are well known as – making the most of the space they have the luxury of, to move along to every beat, violin and melody of their hits from ‘New Eyes’. Fans especially lovingly locked in and taken to Grace, Stephanie on the violin, singers Yasmin and Kirsten when they do their epic intense solos.

‘Symphony’ (with over 6 million sales worldwide) and ‘Extraordinary’ (which got to #5 in the UK single chart and over 32 million views on Youtube) followed. Swedish singer Zara Larsson and Sharna Bass respectively, sing on the original songs but the crowd still get into the songs, which are made with more instruments than you can count fingers and toes on your hand and feet. The vocalists Yasmin and Kirsten take it in turns to move left and right to sing towards various sections of the crowd, as you see front row fans, singing along to every lyric with enthusiasm.

Clean Bandit then rattle through some of the lesser popular (yet still outstanding) tracks including ‘A+E’ which mixes a slower dance beat with steel drums.  You can see people of very young and old enjoying the spectacle, people at the back of the venue have more room and there are those who are moving around a lot more wildly than those at the front. To me, it’s likely the band’s use of various different instruments that attracts fans from all walks of life. There are violins, drums, cello, electronic drum machines, xylophones, keyboard and more.

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Then comes, ‘Rockabye’, a single with over 10 million sales worldwide featuring an unlikely collaboration with rapper Sean Paul and Anne-Marie. Instant cheers, as Sean Paul’s voice blasts over the speakers, the crowd looking around in anticipation to see if Sean Paul is actually here, but no, he isn’t. You can visibly see the crowd enjoying this one the most of all the songs sung so far. It’s clearly a favourite as it was at #1 in the charts for 22 weeks – that’s two and half months, the longest time spent at the top of the charts for 22 years.

Smoke machines and large sparklers shoot out during the last few songs as Clean Bandit got into more upbeat bangers including insanely rhythmic song ‘Telephone Banking’, originally sung by the very cool Ssega, who also sang on Clean Bandit’s ‘Mozart’s House’. The song that started it all off, the song that turned me into a fandit along with thousands of fans in the venue.

They then delighted fans by playing a new song, a high tempo house (with a little bit of garage vibe) melody called ‘Should Have Known Better’ which is yet to be released. Last few songs saw Grace and the three female collaborators, Yasmin, Kirsten and Stephanie moving forward to jam and dance in sync to ‘Real Love’. By this time, fandits were on cloud nine; set lights were spraying to a high rate and the venue was shaking with the rhythm of bouncing feet.

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The encore, had Clean Bandit finish off with their chart topping hit ‘Rather Be’ which as the words says, “there’s no place I’d rather be”, which aptly describes mine and the fandits current mood. Singing on the original track is UK newcomer Jess Glynne, a lady with an amazing voice. This Clean Bandit collaboration, helped the song win a Grammy in 2015 for Best Dance Recording and a Brit Award for Best Single of the year. An international hit, the video went viral with over 460 million views. Their music videos have always been very creative, so much so that Grace and Jack created a film production company called Cleanfilm, to create music videos for Clean Bandit and other artists.

The only things that I would say let the gig down (but only slightly) is the bass for too high in the arena and not having the original singers on the tracks present but the singers that came into to sing the vocals, almost make up for it and were vocally on point.

So you think electric music is boring? Go see Clean Bandit. They are uplifting, rhythmically intense, humble while just hoping they make you move your feet with real thoughtful musical stories. They are extraordinary.


Setlist:
Stronger
Cologne
Symphony
Extraordinary
Disconnect
A+E
Birch
Come Over
Rockabye
Telephone Banking (Remix)
Piece of You
Should’ve Known Better
Real Love

Encore:
I Miss You
Tears
Rather Be

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