This is real love: Clean Bandit in Manila

Words by MIKE REBUYAS / Photos By JASPER LUCENA for MMI LIVE

Classical instrumentation and pop music don’t mix — or at least that’s what nitpicking musical pundits would have you believe. British pop ensemble Clean Bandit, however, thinks otherwise.

The group, first formed in 2009 and composed of members Jack Patterson, Luke Patterson, Grace Chatto, and Neil Amin-Smith, recently visited the Philippines to perform a one-night-only show at the Valkyrie Nightclub at The Palace, all in an effort to showcase their effervescent brand of classically-influenced electronic pop to their Filipino fans.

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Excellent musicians in their own right and armed with an array of hits — from the thumping, empowering pop track Stronger, to the electric and lilting, Extraordinary — Clean Bandit, alongside touring member and vocalist Elisabeth Troy, managed to whip the Valkyrie crowd into a musical frenzy, causing them to gamely dance along to the group’s arresting melodies.

Veritable balls of fire, cellist Grace Chatto and Elisabeth Troy also added to the group’s appeal as they played off each other’s energy, jumping up and down the Valkyrie stage and showing off slick dance moves eagerly lapped up by the crowd.

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Despite the visual pomp the group exhibited, however, it was Clean Bandit’s expert blending of classical musicality with modern, infectious pop sensibilities that really cemented their hold on the crowd, with their renditions of Real Love and Rather Be being especially well-received.

Clean Bandit’s Manila show, with its well-curated set list cleverly interspersing the band’s well-known singles with more obscure, album-only numbers, highlights not just how much a group can do on a relatively sparse night club stage, but also how well they can do it with regards to blending seemingly clashing musical genres.

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If taken as any indication as to where this English four-piece is headed in the future, we can all rest easy, Clean Bandit doesn’t have any plans to let us down. To borrow and paraphrase a line from their breakout — and Grammy-winning — hit, when it comes to good, energetic, and memorable pop music, there’s no other band we’d rather be with.

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Clean Bandit Live at The Valkrie Nightclub was made possible by Music Management International (MMI) Live. Copies of Clean Bandit’s debut full-length album, “New Eyes” are now available in major record stores nationwide.