If like me before I set foot in Oz you don’t know who The Rubens are, here’s the deal. Hailing from Menagle, New South Wales, The Rubens are made up of Margin brothers Sam, Zaac and Elliott together with their friends Scott Baldwin and Will Zeglis.
The band’s 2011 single My Gun was voted number 10 in the Triple J Hottest 100, an annual music listener poll hosted by one of Australia’s most popular radio stations. Powered by ABC, past Triple J Hottest 100s included The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve and Everlong by Foo Fighters. So kind of a big deal.
Then in 2015 The Rubens got even bigger, with their new album’s title track Hoops reaching number one in the year’s Triple J Hottest 100. So you can imagine Sydney-siders’ excitement when they found out that one of the most popular bands in Australia was going to play for free in one of Sydney’s most intimate venues, The Coogee Bay Hotel’s Selina, which in the past saw Crowded House, Michael Hutchence of INXS and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain hit its stage.
Going as a Rubens “virgin”, I found their gig a breath of fresh air compared to the international music scene I am used to. OK, if you know me you’re going to say: “No shit, you listen to death metal.” What I mean however is that you don’t see many bands that have made it as big as The Rubens have, blending national success with tours in the United States and in the United Kingdom, who are still so chill, friendly and respectful to their fans.
Realistically, how many other alt-rock bands would do a free-entry gig in a local favourite venue, open to people of all backgrounds and tastes, with a tiny stage so close to the audience you could basically jump on it?
Although quite different from my usual metal/hard rock gig vibe, The Rubens’ performance was fun and feel-good, perfectly suited to a beachside venue with their upbeat sounds and warm tunes. Performing a blend of their old tracks from their first album The Rubens and their latest hits, my favourite song was definitely their live rendition of My Gun and of The Day You Went Away, which you can see in this video I took. Blame the quality on my efforts to fend off teenage fangirls who were dry-humping me in an attempt to get closer to the stage.
So bravo, The Rubens. Will keep following you. Stay chill.