Gig review: Clean Bandit, Glasgow

At the O2 Academy in Glasgow. Picture: Creative Commons
At the O2 Academy in Glasgow. Picture: Creative Commons
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AT A time when the mainstream music industry is not investing much in bands – too many messy musicians to pay/babysit, best keep it streamlined – the way is open for an odd proposition such as Clean Bandit, mixing classical music with club tracks, to sneak on to the Best British Group shortlist at The Brits.

Clean Bandit

02 Academy, Glasgow


Inevitably, it is the clubby side of the equation which has struck a commercial chord. Clean Bandit make fun but formulaic dance music with some audacious string flourishes from violinist Milan Neil Amin-Smith and cellist Grace Chatto. It worked for Soul II Soul 20 years ago, although Clean Bandit are operating with diminishing returns.

Live, their closest inspiration appeared to be another great London fusion outfit, Basement Jaxx. Clean Bandit’s more polite pick ‘n’ mix of UK garage, dubstep and Jamaican dancehall influences and slimmer selection of guest vocalists generated an atmosphere which was jolly rather than carnival-like but it is still early days for the group, who don’t yet have the catalogue for a fuller set. Brevity was probably a mercy in this case.

Catchy disco house track Extraordinary was not quite prophetic but they were on surer footing with the chunky Nightingale. Their biggest tunes were saved for guest vocalist Jess Glynne, the old school house grooves and strong, simple melodic hooks of Real Love and infectious, Grammy-winning Rather Be compensating for her lack of presence.

Seen on 10.03.15