Photography by Josh Groom @JoshGroom
‘Indie’ can often serve as a trap for bands. It’s a broad term that seems to allow everybody in at the cost of everyone sounding the same.
Luckily at the Hordern Pavilion, The Rubens managed to crowd surf away from any generic labels they’d been slapped with. In a band full of talented musicians, their strongest weapon is Sam Margin’s voice, which is arguably the reason they standalone. This was all confirmed when vocally focused ‘The Day You Went Away’ and ‘Hold Me Back’ kicked off.
All accompanied by a brass section and massive roars from the crowd, it was clear that Sam and the boys were up to let loose. After a rather decent cover of Adele’s ‘Hello’ without the God-awful King Kunta instrumental as previously surfaced online, the crowd was singing in unison to their slower and older tracks like ‘Elvis’ and ‘Be Gone’.
Guest appearances by Seth Sentry during ‘My Gun’ shook up the night but supporting act Ali Barter during ‘Paddy’ did not fare well and was clearly overshadowed by Sam Margin’s voice and onstage presence. To be honest, she was as out of place as the shrieking women in their forties who pushed in front of me.
The Menangle boys’ energy onstage was infectious as the crowd was in mosh mode during the Aussie hit ‘Hoops’, clearly showing that they’ve learned a thing or two from massive shows they recently played in the UK. My respect for them increased tenfold during ‘Cut Me Loose’ as frontman Sam crowdsurfed in a rubber boat right in front of the venue sign which said something along the lines of ‘CROWSURFING IS DANGEROUS AND DISCOURAGED’. As if that weren’t enough, he popped a cork and drenched the crowd with a champagne shower. I’d prefer that in a glass thank you.
— michelle (@moustachelle) June 24, 2016
The Hordern Pavilion shook under the weight of fans calling out and stamping their feet for an encore. ‘Never Be The Same’ was the last opportunity for devotees to sing soulfully to Sam Margin’s solo at the piano. It was perfectly contrasted with ‘Hallelujah’ that was made for final moshing moments joined by the supporting acts equally partying onstage.
As much as Sam Margin’s antics may be as shocking as the ‘Cut Me Loose’ video dropped last month, there’s a smooth quality to his voice similar to that of Alex Turner that really turns me on. Indie sounding or not, these boys are certainly having fun stirring up the scene and I can’t wait to see what else they’ve got.