Pendulum/Sub Focus – Live

Wembley Arena
28th May 2010

There are moments in time, when everything just seems to work. For the boys from Perth, tonight just, well – worked. So well in fact, that I won’t hesitate to say that Pendulum’s ‘Immersion’ show at Wembley arena, was the best musical experience I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. And that’s saying something.

Ram Records’ Sub Focus supported, warming up the crowd an absolute treat. Guildford’s Nick Douwma stood behind an immense disc of LED’s, which proved to be an immensely well-fitting accompaniment to the music and kicked off a sterling set with crowd favourite Rock It. He spanned through multiple songs quickly and effortlessly, including his Ghosts’N’Stuff remix, the new single Splash and many other classics backed up with the steez of MC ID who delivered the goods which in turn, whipped the baying crowd into a frenzy.

After a short break, the moment had come. Three years of hard work from Pendulum, and it was about to culminate in the form of the headline spot at Wembley arena. Genesis began the proceedings, to a dark, empty stage. As the boys walked on, they launched into Salt In The Wounds with more energy than your average jet engine. Bearing in mind that this tour is a showcase of the new material from ‘Immersion’, and that it’s only been performed live a few times before now- it has to be said that these guys are definitely at the top of their game right now. They’re tight, efficient and oh-so-slick. There happened to be a slight malfunction with Perry’s guitar during Midnight Runner, but without so much as a hint of a pause the rest of the band compensated for this, and kept things flowing smoothly.

Visually, the show is a two-hour eyegasm with smoke cannons, spark cannons and flamethrowers serving as a perfect accompaniment to a series of back-to-back ‘L’ shaped screens, displaying CG visuals and live-action footage. It also has to be said that Ben Verse is one of the foundations that holds this type of live show together. His constant, enthusiastic interaction with the crowd draws you in. It makes you feel comfortable, and adds an element of trust – so much so, that upon his request, the entire standing audience of around 6000 people sat on the floor during Blood Sugar’s build-up, with them all jumping to their feet at the drop.

Pendulum powered through the classics and the new, and integrated them seamlessly. ‘Witchcraft’ was a crowd favourite, with the entire crowd singing along before old favourites such as ‘Hold your Colour’, ‘Tarantula’, and ‘The Tempest’ were delivered for the old school at curtains. It could be said that perhaps they should have varied the setlist slightly and included some newer songs at the end of the gig, however, having seen this trio of songs performed live before, it begs the old phrase – ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

Pendulum have created a unique live experience, one that includes every aspect of the sounds they create, and it says a lot that they are able to perform this material live, and to such an epically high standard. I think the other ten thousand people who shared that arena last night would agree with me when I say – the live Pendulum experience is a complete sensory assault, with rather pleasant side effects, that may include an uncontrollable urge to move, sing, mosh, then jabber about it to everyone you’ve ever met.

Words and pics: S.MAY