Las Vegas is considered one of the EDM capitals of the world, but last Saturday night at The Foundry inside SLS Las Vegas, UK dance music superstars, Rudimental and Gorgon City, teamed up to show Sin City that electronic music can have soul. Each brought along their full live band setups and charismatic vocalists for their co-headlining USA spring tour, which allowed both acts to comfortably spread out across the massive stage at The Foundry to deliver captivating performances that kept the packed house dancing all night long.
“The show was amazing,” said Piers Agget, who makes up the core of Rudimental, alongside Amir Amor, Kesi Dryden and Leon Rolle (AKA Locksmith), when we spoke the following day while the bands were already en route to a sold-out DJ gig in San Diego. “It was was one of our favorite shows of the tour. The crowd was really good and we had so much fun on stage. It’s really, really cool to do something like that in Las Vegas.”
The party kicked off with opening sets by local favorite MIICS and KCRW’s Jason Bentley, who each set the tone for the evening nicely with with choice selections of deep electronic grooves. Gorgon City took to the stage shortly before 10:00pm and proceed to launched into their soaring opener, “Sky High,” a fan-favorite non-album track that was exclusively featured on their 2015 compilation with BBC Radio 1 legendary DJ, Pete Tong. With the fine precision of one of their DJ sets, they proceeded to work through a selection of songs from their massive debut album, “Sirens,” but in between they also gave plenty of nods to underground scene they originated from such as on the acid house outro they played at the end of their breakthrough single, “Real,” as well as the deep tribal rhythms that are the backbone of their latest remix which is so dancefloor potent that they had to work into the live set. The Foundry crowd was also treated to plenty of songs from Gorgon City’s new album, “Kingdom,” with “All for Walls” especially sounding right at home in Vegas. The Foundry was turned into a proper UK warehouse party and that vibe is something that has been really special for Gorgon City and Rudimental to experience together.
“It’s an amazing thing really because we’ve known each other for so long,” Agget said. “We’ve seen each other grow and we were both really excited to come to the USA and play together. They’re great guys and it’s really good to hear their new music. We’ve also been sharing music on the road when we’re hanging out.”
As the last notes of Gorgon City’s epic closing anthem, “Go All Night,” echoed in the air, the buzz for Rudimental was at a near fever pitch as the crowd was ready to “just keep on dancing”. The Bristol band were happy to oblige and when the opening trumpet salvo of their reggae-heavy song, “System,” rumbled through the venue, you could absolutely feel the sheer exuberance Rudimental has playing with each other as they cut through their diverse back catalog of tunes that are rooted in classic electronic rhythms.
“The thing about electronic music is that it’s so broad and there’s lots of different styles,” Agget said. “What we like to mix live music with electronic music and soulful vocals because that’s really important to us. It was big to do that in Vegas because there’s a lot of EDM DJs that are not bringing the live music element so much. One of the great things about this city is that there’s always something going on somewhere.”
An hour into their set, Rudimental surprised just about everyone in attendance by launching into a cover of an old school jungle track from General Levy and M-Beat that just about blew the roof off of The Foundry when the bass hit. It was a stand-out moment in a set full of them and perhaps offered a hint of things to come for the genre-smashing band.
“It was nice to drop a few things like that because that’s where drum and bass originally came from,” Agget explained. “So it’s good to add a little bit of culture and history and what we grew up listening to. To make the music we make, we were inspired by all these songs and people. That’s sort of our favorite genre of tunes. We’ve got a lot of ideas. So something that’s a bit darker and more jungle-orientated, that’s definitely territory that we could move into.”
Rudimental saved some of their biggest tunes for the end of the show where they had the audience singing and dancing along to their No. 1 hit, “Feel the Love” and “Waiting All Night” until the lights finally came on at 1am. But in true Vegas fashion, the ensuing afterparty at the adjacent Foxtail Nightclub would have both bands throw down dynamic DJ sets that showed off a different side as they went deep underground with nary an EDM drop to be found.
“That’s the beautiful thing because we’re DJs as well as musicians,” Agget explained. “It’s really fun to do those afterparty DJ sets, but it’s definitely hard because you spend a lot of energy and put a lot of effort into the live show. So sometimes it can be tough to get through, but we love it.”
Rudimental and Gorgon City gave Vegas a night to remember at The Foundry and showed that there’s a lot more to electronic music than what currently resides on The Strip. Hopefully Sin City won’t have to wait too long for an encore.
To see all the upcoming shows at The Foundry, click here.