Clean Bandit

Venue: The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel, Singapore
Date: 25th November 2015
Promoter: Secret Sounds Asia
Review by: N. Asyraf
Special Thanks: Dan, and the Secret Sounds Asia team

Following the release of their debut album “New Eyes” last year, the Grammy Award winner, Clean Bandit finally hit Singapore for the first time. There was never any doubt that the band responsible for their fastest-selling single, “Rather Be” would pull off a great set, yet even with these credentials they still managed to exceed our expectations.

Our biggest concern for the performance of their most popular material was the lack of guest singers, such as Jess Glynne, whose distinct voice always gives the songs a unique edge. However, lead vocalists Elisabeth Troy and and Grace Chatto had no trouble putting their own twist on new and classic tracks. Their incredible harmonies and soulful voices resonated around The Coliseum and never failed to show off the versatility of Clean Bandit’s music.

As someone who enjoyed New Eyes but hadn’t revisited the album religiously, it was not only a refresher but also introduced an entirely new appreciation for the classical/electro crossover that defines Clean Bandit’s sound. This may be largely due to the feeling that Clean Bandit potentially work better in live performances than they do recorded. The classical instrumentation in particular comes to life and although all members play their part, violinist Christina Hizon who took over Neil Amin-Smith’s duties deserves some special recognition for a mesmerising performance not only musically but just the sheer dynamics he brings to the stage.

Their act is unique and their ability to pick featuring artists is faultless, so by the time album number two comes along Clean Bandit should be tighter and more focused on who they are as artists. They could keep a crowd on their feet all night with more upbeat, floor filling numbers, breaking more records and picking up more “dance act” awards as they go, or they could focus on their classical background, bringing it further into the limelight, regardless of whether people dance or simply witness their talents. Both are possible and could be successful in their own fields; Clean Bandit just has to decide which act they’d rather be.