Pendulum / Sub Focus

O2 Academy, Birmingham on Wed 26th May 2010

With record sales in excess of 300,000 for debut offering 'Hold your Colour' and sophomore opus 'In Silico' (which debuted at #2 in the UK Album Charts) spawning monster hit 'Propane Nightmares', commercial success is Pendulum's for the taking. However, on the flipside, it is this shift to the mainstream that has pissed off and alienated the more 'hardcore' fans. Pioneering artist/ producer Goldie has referred to the track 'Granite' as "shite" and the worry is that the six-piece have abandoned and turned their backs on the drum and bass foundations on which they built their music. The Aussie's breakbeat hybrid sound has also come under fire for being "heavily FX'ed" with a creeping sense of déjà vu to their material rather than excitement of hearing something fresh.

So do Rob Swire and co actually have anything to prove tonight? Maybe. Have they ever actually given a toss and allowed this criticism affect their performance? No. They are clearly doing something right. This is the first date so far on the UK leg of the Immersion tour to be completely sold out and with a capacity crowd gathered here at the Birmingham Academy it is a testament to the Perth lads' tenacity and appeal around these parts.

Grab that glow stick as kicking off proceedings this evening is Sub Focus - aka Nick Douwma. Discovered by stalwart producer/ MC Andy C and with impressive remixing credentials already under his belt (Deadmau5 and The Prodigy to name but a few) the support choice is spot on. With a stunning technicolour Catherine wheel-esque backdrop of lighting capable of inciting an epileptic fit, the production is bombastic to behold. SF's complimentary blend of d'n'b and dubstep with elements of techno strikes a chord with the writhing throng burning up the dance floor. Dropping a mix of old and new material, the unashamed riffage of 'Rock It' whips the ravers into a adrenaline fuelled frenzy and set closer 'Could This Be Real' sees the first of many euphoric sing-along's of the night. A triumph if ever there was one.

If eGigs was to sum up the gig so far in three words? Hot as f***. It's 9.25 and the walls are sweating as much as the bodies clamouring for the main attraction. The guys open with the storming 'Genesis'/'Salt in the Wounds' and the place erupts like Krakatoa. MC Verse encourages the crowd at every step to show their love and "big up themselves" and by god they follow his instructions to the letter.

Swire's vocals are tight (if not a little obscured by the fury of KJ Sawka's skin pounding) and sonically the guitars bring that extra depth to the live Pendulum experience that is somewhat lacking from a DJ set. Some of the most savage looking moshpits ever seen outside of a death metal gig open up during an absolutely storming version of 'Voodoo People' and there is not one single person standing still during live favourites 'Slam', 'Propane Nightmares' and 'Fasten Your Seatbelt'.

New material is also showcased with the dub heavy/ grimey 'Witchcraft' bringing a new flavour to the table. Unfortunately 'The Island' (described by Verse as "a real summer anthem for you guys") is a bit too Ibiza Anthems 1999 with its deviation from the big-beats Pendulum are known and loved for. It just sounds far too dated. Not that this seems to bother anyone else here. Despite third studio album 'Immersion' only being released a mere two days ago, the lyrics to new single and final song of the night 'Watercolour' are bellowed back at the band by 3,000 plus people.

Just as this is shaping up to be the gig of the year so far, we realise that the band vacated the stage a good fifteen minutes ago and have yet to re-appear for the encore. Not even the insistent cries of "We want more! We want more! Tarantulaaaaaaa!" work and as the disappointed revellers dissipate into the darkness outside, it just seems like the night has come to a rather premature end.

article by: Sophie Maughan

published: 28/05/2010 14:07


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.