Welcome to the dance rock event of the year. And if Pendulum have been pressing the right buttons for some time now then hand-picking Hadouken! to crank up the atmosphere was the perfect opening shot on a night of memorable twists and unexpected turns.
It’s always a brave move to name emerging talent as your primary support but then Pendulum have never dodged the big decisions. Perhaps they didn’t imagine Hadouken! would have quite so profound impact on arena audiences across the UK but this lot were – and are – amazing. Even a far from perfect vocal mix couldn’t stop the opening act from delivering focused tunes with fire in their bellies. Showing true faith in their most recent material this is a band with mighty ambition and the songs to match.
So to Pendulum. Only a few years ago this lot were creating an underground stir in festival tents and tiny clubs. Fast forward to 2010 and a double dose of arena headline shows mark them out for special attention and serious consideration.
Relying on the heavy bass line which has come to underpin their electrified rock there was no doubting this was a loud and proud celebration of dance music’s most ear bleeding hybrid. But for all the smooth synths and cutting edge keyboards there was one aspect of this aurally and visually spectacular show which really grated – nobody wants to see a wannabe Westwood strutting his laboured stuff like a rejected Beastie Boy and yet that’s exactly how Ben ‘The Verse’ Mount comes across. He has a job. It’s just not a job we like.
A packed floor bouncing along to every venue rattling bass line didn’t agree – worshipping the vocal focus of Pendulum like a God, and throwing themselves into every fresh tune like it was the last, the outpouring of emotion was incredibly moving.
At this stage of their career the Aussie-Brit collective could be assumed to be at their peak. But we think not. This may only be the beginning of a remarkable journey which still has some distance to run.
Five years and three albums into their life as the world leaders of cutting edge rock-infused drum and bass music, Pendulum preach to a predominantly late teens/early 20s audience ready to grow with their favourite band for years to come. Global acclaim beckons.