The Rubens (7)

Review: The Rubens at Forum Theatre, Melbourne, 1 March 2018

Aussie alt-rockers The Rubens played at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre on Thursday night in support of their new single, ‘Million Man’. They gave a nod to their range of influences and diverse taste in music with opening slots from Kira Puru and Joyride, both of whom joined The Rubens on stage during the main set.

The boys from Menangle have been on an upwards trajectory since their 2013 self-titled debut album, with a surprise Hottest 100 victory for ‘Hoops’ off their 2015 album, also titled Hoops, cementing their place with the top acts in Aussie indie rock.

Though they didn’t quite pack out the Forum, loyal fans crammed towards the barrier and were ecstatic when lead singer Sam joined them in the crowd for ‘Cut Me Loose’. It was just one highlight during a set that featured many of their hits, including ‘Hallelujah’, ‘My Gun’ and, to the crowd’s delight, their cover of Chance the Rapper’s ‘Same Drugs’.

Their rendition of ‘Million Man’, the new single produced by Run the Jewels’ collaborators, Wilder Zoby and Lil’ Shalimar, had fans salivating over the prospect of the new album due for release this year.

While the crowd seemed somewhat flat at times, perhaps down to minimal banter from the stage, the boys have obviously been working hard to keep their live shows tight and executed the set flawlessly. Sam’s crooning vocals, in particular, couldn’t be faulted and to be irrelevantly honest, drummer Scott’s biceps almost stole the show. Seriously man, those things are ridiculous.

The set, predictably, wrapped up with ‘Hoops’, leaving an energetic crowd to bounce down Flinders St singing “Never get back too soon,” perhaps in the hope of encouraging The Rubens to return to Melbourne shortly. And if the new album brings the quality of their two previous offerings, they’ll be most welcome.

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