And now your song is on repeat
And I’m dancin’ onto your heartbeat
And when you’re gone, I feel incomplete
– Clean Bandit, featuring Zara Larsson, Symphony (2017)
Back in April, I had the chance to see Clean Bandit perform live at Union Transfer, a music venue in Philadelphia. Clean Bandit is a British electronic group founded by four Cambridge students in 2008, and consists of
- Grace Chatto, responsible for cello, percussion, vocals,
- Jack Patterson, in charge of base, keyboard, vocals, piano,
- Luke Patterson, responsible for drums, percussion, and
- (formerly) Neil Amin-Smith, in charge of violin, piano.
How I Fell in Love with Clean Bandit Again
Despite starting nine years ago, Clean Bandit only gained worldwide recognition with their chart-topping hit single Rather Be in 2014. Featuring vocals by Jess Glynne, “Rather Be” demonstrated that it was possible to mix classical instruments to an electronic song to make a great piece. And up until recently, the name Clean Bandit was synonymous to their most popular song.
From Rather Be until 2016, I stopped listening to them. Simply put, there were two reasons why I didn’t keep up with Clean Bandit:
- As they became bigger, I began to lose interest in them, and started to seek out other, lesser known artists to stream, and
- In my opinion, their music wasn’t inspiring to listen to, so I felt that I needed to take a break from them.
While I loved them, and tried to keep up with their music, I felt that Clean Bandit’s subsequent releases lived up to a standard that I held towards them.
I typically discover new artist through watching new music videos, and following the list of recommended videos on the side. Funnily enough, it was through this method that I was brought back to listening to Clean Bandit again.
The song that brought me back to Clean Bandit was “Tears”, featuring Louisa Johnson. Listening to and watching the music video, I felt that Clean Bandit had finally rediscovered themselves, which made me excited to listen to them again. They continued their high with the release of “Rockabye”, which featured vocals by Anne-Marie and rap by Sean Paul.
The Opening Acts
On Clean Bandit’s website, they announced that they were to tour with Zara Larsson and Starley. For those of you who may not know, Zara Larsson is an amazing singer-songwriter from Sweden. Okay, question: why are Scandinavian artists so young and talented 😭? They make me question what I have been doing with my life for the past 21 years.
I personally discovered Zara’s incredible vocal ability, as well as penchant for creating addictive songs in her So Good (2017) album, where every single song was a hit. On the other hand, I had no clue who Starley.
I quickly discovered that in fact, I did know Starley. Starley’s “Call on Me” (2016) is a song that I deeply related to during my slump periods. During her bit, it was heartening to hear that she too was going through a bleak period before she realized that she could make her dreams come true:
“I wrote this song when I was at a low point in my life … It became a way of telling myself it was going to be okay, almost like an encouragement. It was as if I had created my own lighthouse, a beacon to help me realize my dreams are not impossible. I can do this. I’ll figure it out. I just need to follow my intuition and essentially call on myself.”
– Starley, on “Call on Me”’s conception.
The concert was broken up until three distinct parts – the opening act, the main act, and the encore finale. I can say that I am 99.9999% certain that this was the exact schedule the concert followed:
- Starley, medley
- Starley, “Call on Me”
- Zara Larsson, “Lush Life”
- Zara Larsson, “I Would Like”
- Zara Larsson, dance break
- Zara Larsson, “Ain’t My Fault”
- Zara Larsson, “Never Forget You”
- “UK Shanty”
- “Symphony” – with Zara Larsson
- “Heart on Fire”
- “Come Over”
- “Telephone Banking”
- “Should’ve Known Better”
- “Piece of You”
- “Real Love”
- “Rather Be”
Unlike other performers, Clean Bandit focused mostly on their music. They didn’t really divulge on cool backstories on how the songs came to be, or recall fond memories of the past. In their defense, it was only their second North American tour, as well as second term performing at Union Transfer.
After playing 14 songs, they abruptly said goodbye, and left the stage. The crowd was very confused and upset, especially since they didn’t even play “Rather Be.” It thankfully turned out to be a fakeout, as they returned to the stage after two minutes and introduced themselves. They shared a few stories and got the crowd super excited for the last part, the encore.
At times, the touring vocals would stop singing so that the crowd could really show off how well they knew “Tears” and “Rather Be.” I feel like this is the best part of the concert – when everyone knows the lyrics to the songs, and we’re all singing along in unison. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling that we are not alone.
the girl who feels extraordinary
p.s. I have posted my Snapchat and Instagram stories and have shared them below. While they are short, I hope you can get a feel of how amazing it was!