If there has been one benefit of the dramatic tumble in record sales in recent years, it’s that mainstream acts have realised that they’ve needed to raise their game on the live front. In the past, a band like Rizzle Kicks would probably have been content to lip sync on TV and watch the album figures rack up. Not anymore and thus State finds them on a Sunday night, playing a beer sponsored gig and working the room like there’s no tomorrow. Admittedly such is the atmosphere at this second Heineken Live Project show (Labrinth played the Savoy earlier in the week, with Passion Pit coming to Dublin this Sunday) that they could easily have coasted to a victory, yet the UK duo still display an admirable work rate.
So we get a good deal of running around, jumping off their own branded wooden boxes, arm waving, some seriously smooth, old school dance moves from Jordan Stephens and the experience they have gained playing the arenas of this world translates well into the smaller confines of the Opera House. That would be enough to send the excitable, young audience home happy but it’s the substance beneath the style that has us more mature observers entertained. As anyone who’s heard their impressive Stereo Typical album will be aware, they manage to mix cracking pop singles with a feel for genuinely emotive hip-hop and – while the overriding message of tonight is to have a good time, all the time – their live band offer enough twists and turns to ensure that this never feels like a state of the art, perfectly choreographed pop show, instead becoming a living, breathing, spontaneous gig of the highest order.
But the majority are here tonight to bounce along to the big tunes and they aren’t disappointed. The likes of ‘When I Was Youngster’, ‘Mama Do The Hump’ and a riotous ‘Down With The Trumpets’ are infectious, feel good anthems to the joys of youth and, while some of the references may pass you by, it’s impossible not to be swept along by it all. Others have made the leap from such apparently shallow waters before and, while Rizzle Kicks are happy to splash about and have fun for now, it’ll be interesting to see them really strike out and swim.