[Event Review] Rudimental Brought The House Down At OUTPUT NYC!
Last Thursday night award-winning, U.K.-based recording label Black Butter Records brought a cast of some of their most talented artists to the halls of Brooklyn’s infamously well-equipped nightclub, OUTPUT. Kidnap Kid, RedLight, Dan Wender and Blacky II joined platinum recording artist Rudimental for a special night celebrating all forms of U.K. bass music. OUTPUT was transported across the pond for an authentic London-inspired party that had everyone inside and on top of OUTPUT feeling the love.
When I arrived Kidnap Kid had just jumped on the decks and he was already putting together a sensual set full of deep four-to-the-floor goodness. Kidnap Kid crafted an exceptionally classic mix, a balance between airy vocal bridges and towering bass drops that were paired beautifully with smooth kick drums and frenetic hi-hat combinations. I was thoroughly impressed by Kidnap Kid’s ability to play to the crowd while keeping the essence of his performance unadulterated. As OUTPUT’s dance floor began to fill with more and more loose summertime ravers, Kidnap Kid raised the energy level a few knots but kept the atmosphere sophisticated and sexy. The Londoner showed off his soulful repertoire, unleashing some of his absolutely gorgeous tunes, like “Survive,” “Like You Used To,” and his latest single, “Stronger.” Kidnap Kid’s smooth performance was very reminiscent of the polished yet vibrant styles of fellow U.K. heavyweights BrEaCh and Route 94.
Towards the end of Kidnap Kid’s set, OUTPUT had just reached that perfect capacity level, where you have plenty of space to groove but you can feel the energy in the club bouncing off of the walls and into each person next to you, creating that epic, almost cinematic, atmosphere we all crave. The crowd on the dance floor and up on the balconies showered him in shouts of appreciation as every beautiful bassline resonated crisply from the massive Funktion-1 speaker system. Kidnap Kid polished off a text book lesson on how to start a party.
The feel of the night made a complete 180 once the showcase’s headliners Rudimental, took the stage. The vibe inside of OUTPUT went from that of a sunset party on the sandy beaches of Ibiza to a ruthless bass music throw-down in the blink of an eye. From the word go, Rudimental brought a blistering energy to the stage that was insanely infectious. After playing Electric Daisy Carnival on Memorial Day Weekend, you could tell Rudimental had been vibing with the New York crowds, and they were excited to be making their OUTPUT debut.
The four members of Rudimental all got behind the decks at some point, switching on and off, adding their own flavor to the set as it grew and evolved organically. One of their best qualities is their obvious camaraderie with each other. Rudimental’s familiarity with and affinity for one another allows them to take chances and risks musically that definitely pay off. Their set consisted of a myriad of musical styles, which reflected their vast artistic pallet. They began with building on the housey tones of Kidnap Kid’s mix by playing some funky disco and deep house as a nice transition. The U.K. group had the crowd cheering when they turned back the clock with Earth,Wind & Fire’s classic tune “September,” and OUTPUT was also bouncing for Justin Martin’s sub-bass-filled remix of Rachel Row’s “Follow The Step.” Rudimental was also accompanied by a live trumpeter, whose jazzy accents added an immensely soulful and intimate element to what felt like a very special performance, not just for the audience but for all the artists as well. The inclusion of live instrumentation took the already elated mood inside OUTPUT through the roof.
Rudimental continued to torch the crowd by segueing effortlessly into a sizzling medley of old school reggae and drum and bass. The quartet began unleashing jungle-inspired edits of classic tracks like “54-56 Was My Number” by Toots & The Maytals, “Bad Boys” by Inner Circle, “Welcome To Jamrock” by Damian Marley, and “Pum Pum Shorts” by Redd Foxx. Rudimental’s rude boy vibrations enthralled the ravers inside OUTPUT and created a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that could only be described as a combination between a Jamaican Dance Hall and a London DnB basement party.
As I mentioned before, Rudimental has no problem including unorthodox nuances into their performances, and that was clear when the quartet embarked on an unexpected detour through hip-hop and funk, which included an unconventional mix of Marvin Gaye’s sultry classic “Let’s Get It On” with TNGHT’s gritty trap-style banger “Higher Ground.” Rudimental threw down a few more unpredictably awesome mixes of Genuwine’s “Shake Ya Ass” and “The Notorious” by Skillz, before sliding back into drum & bass with a tantalizing jungle remix of “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles.
During their set, Rudimental showed an innate ability to champion contemporary music while paying respect to the classics like Motown and timeless hip-hop. Their mix was all over the place, skipping from genre to genre and from era to era with such ease that they literally had me scratching my head in disbelief. The only constant to their entire performance was the insane wow-factor every time the quartet dropped one of their original tracks. Rudimental interspersed their own songs at strategic points throughout night, creating euphoric moments when time seemed to stand still and the entire club sang in unison. Although this wasn’t one of their live performances, the addition of the live trumpeter definitely added some extra emotion to beautiful tracks like “Free,” which features the gorgeous vocals of the talented Emeli Sande, and “Not Giving In” featuring John Newman & Alex Clare.
There is always that one track in a DJ’s set that you expect to be the crown jewel of the mix, that song that will be stuck in your head for days after the show. Well, Rudimental’s massive hit, “Waiting All Night,“ certainly fits that bill, and it more than delivered. The uplifting tune, which has helped catapult Rudimental into super stardom, tore through the dance floor like a wildfire, igniting everything in its path. Accompanied by an epic trumpet solo, it was a nothing less than a picture-perfect moment (too bad OUTPUT doesn’t allow cameras inside).
Rudimental closed out a truly epic set with the track that really started it all for them, “Feel The Love” featuring John Newman. The final song was a completely fitting way to end a raucous yet heartfelt performance that had everyone inside OUTPUT on cloud 9. If you EVER get the chance to catch Rudimental I humbly suggest you buy yourself and all your friends tickets the very first chance you get, because these guys are special.