The Rubens Return to Enmore Theatre, Sydney
By Marjie Saunders
Over the last 10 years The Rubens have cemented their place as a staple band in the Australian music scene. I still remember where I was when I heard they won Triple J’s hottest 100 in 2015 – singing their hit song ‘Hoops’ from the top of my lungs on a table surrounded by fellow Aussies in a random Canadian hostel. The Rubens are one of those bands with music that takes you on such a journey with each song. Their anthem sing-alongs are not lost on myself or this crowd as they run on stage and immediately start the night off with ‘Muddy Evil Pain’.
The stage floodlights are perfectly timed with the peaks of this song. You can tell everyone has been waiting a while for this tour as the band are going all out with this stage setup. It’s an electric start to this set bringing ferocious energy to this song – you can tell the band is working hard bringing every ounce of built up excitement into this set. Keyboardist Elliott Margin’s (one fo the three Margin brothers on stage) backing vocals shine in ‘Muddy Evil Pain’ almost bringing a folk gospel feel to it.
Lead vocalist Sammuel Margin (another brother!) is in his element as they continue playing into ‘Heavy Weather’. Showing the range of his voice which verberates through the enmore as he sings through the chorus: “It’s all that Heavy weather in, My chest again, Will I ever see, A change.” The cushioned vest he was wearing gets thron to the side!
Sammuel addresses the crowd, “Sydney how you doing? We are The Rubens, you alright?” Everybody screams and whistles. “Fucken hell this has been like a year in the making this show. Thank you so much to all who held onto your tickets. You didn’t have to do that. We promised you we come back and you all showed up so thank you so much. We will make it special I promise you.” Playing ‘Go On’ from their LO LA RU Album next, Sammuel carries this song with purpose and control.
As ther start to play ‘God Forgot’ a synchronised clap erupts from in the crowd as everyone starts singing along. Sammuel is a commanding presence on stage. Showing his showmanship by almost rapping the lyrics he and the rest of the band are giving a stellar performance.
The killer hook “So what god forgot? So what carry on!” is literally yelled from the stage to the crowd and up the walls of the Enmore as everyone matches the elated energy of Sammuel.
The song slows for a moment and everyone waves from side to side in unison before building in tempo as everyone is jumping dancing and singing again.
The cheers from the crowd are deafening – in a good way. Scott Baldwin on drums continues into their next song for the evening ‘The Day You Went Away’ as Sammuel whips out the guitar and jumps into the front row to play next to fans.
‘Waste A Day’ follows. Showcasing the best part of The Rubens music (in my humble opinion) which is the ability for the crowd to sing-a-long and feel apart of the performance. Paired with Sammuel’s interactions with people in the front row almost serenading them as he sings “I’ll be here, I’ll be your friend” in the chorus.
‘Time Of My Life’ another one off their 0202 album brings a bit more of a slower place to the set and allows time to rest my calf muscles from all the jumping. Before Sammuel unexpectedly runs off stage and into the centre of the crowd in a fitting moment of the song as he sings “This could be the time, time of my life”. Boosting everyone’s serotonin levels as they sing, dance and jump along with him in the crowd. ‘Freakout’ plays next and the outro “But I told ya, Sayin’ sorry” hits the chest hard and bringing a touch of melancholy into this set.
Sammuel reminises on stage about their next song ‘Elvis’, “This one is one of our oldest songs actually,” describing how the band wrote this song back in Camden years ago. He continues to chat about the band’s 10 year anniversary and how ‘Lay It Down’ was one of the first songs picked up by Triple J back in 2012 as The Rubens were starting out.
It’s then back to another off their 0202 Album ‘Thank You’ before rocking out to ‘Hallelujah’ with plenty of upbeat riffs. “We’re gunna play a few more songs and I want the energy fucken on!” Sammuel announces as they dive into ‘Million Man’. With such a sing-a-long chorus it draws out big energy from this crowd as everyone is swaying and singing at the top of their lungs. The end on ‘Live in Life’ before leaving the stage as the crowd chants and cheers for one more song.
It has to be ‘Hoops’, their 2015 Triple J Hottest 100 winning song. Returning back on stage with what looks like fresh beers in hand. The Rubens end the night on a high note with this hit song, it’s safe to say their status as a staple band in the Australian music scene isn’t budging anytime soon.