Another headline show from The Rubens- another sell-out crowd, this time at Melbourne’s prestigious Forum Theatre.

Touring off the back of the release of their highly anticipated debut album, Melbourne continued their love affair with the Menangle four-piece, lapping up every moment.

Opening for the Rubens was brand new Melbourne supergroup New Gods, made up of members from Little Red, Eagle & The Worm and Ground Components, they made an impressive debut for their home crowd.

Despite what sounded like a few clumsy moments, the band seemed to be getting comfortable with each other on stage. New single ‘On Our Side’ went down well with the early crowd and showed plenty of promise for the future.

Having cancelled shows in July due to tonsillitis, this was Melbourne’s first chance to see Bertie Blackman showcase new material from her forthcoming record Pope Innocent X.

For those individuals who missed out earlier in the year but got to see this show, it was worth the wait. With only Blackman and her drummer on stage, there was obviously a heavy reliance on loops and samples but that didn’t take away from her their strong presence and huge sound.

The dense rhythmic textures in the Sydney songwriter’s music meant the heavy presence of percussion on stage was well used. Previous hit ‘Thump’ highlighted the grittiness in Blackman’s vocals, while newer tracks ‘Boy’ and ‘Mercy Killer’ saw her voice soar right to the rear of the Forum Theatre and back again.

When The Rubens finally took to the stage, it seemed as if they didn’t have to do much to keep the crowd happy. As ever, the vocals of Sam Margin were absolutely spot on and equally matched by the band’s musicianship.

Playing tracks from their eponymous debut, it was difficult to tell whether the band was perhaps overawed by the venue and the crowd as it seemed as if they were going through the motions. Those in attendance didn’t seem to notice – with hit singles ‘My Gun’  and ‘Don’t Ever Want To Be Found’ really kicking things off.

Obviously the band is still developing their on stage presence, but considering the extensive touring they’ve already done, it feels as if there’s more they could bring to the stage. There were moments were you really wanted them to blow the roof off the place but it just never happened.

The numerous girls on shoulders didn’t seem to notice with encore numbers ‘Never Be The Same’ truly highlighting the soulful strength of Margin’s voice and Triple J favourite ‘Lay It Down’ finally showing the band’s ability to bring some variation to the stage compared to the recording.

– Gabe Andrews

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