Quartet ready for next stage
THE sense of occasion was not lost on The Rubens. They had just arrived back in Australia after being given a microscopic examination by European audiences, followed by US tastemakers at the annual music meat market South By Southwest and at their own sold-out shows in New York.
Brothers Sam, Zaac and Elliott Margin and mate Scott Baldwin were the opening act at Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s final Australian shows at Hanging Rock.
Playing for 17,000 hardcore Springsteen fans, The Rubens rose to fill the truly mammoth stage and delivered an impressive set, undaunted yet suitably humble about warming the stage for Jimmy Barnes and then Springsteen.
Ten days later, frontman Sam confesses he was as much in awe of The Boss’s presence as the crowd.
‘‘I didn’t feel like I needed to meet him because it all felt so personal. You see him walk past you with this huge grin on his face,’’ he says.
Since The Rubens smashed it out of the alternative rock ballpark with their debut single Lay It Down in 2011, following up with the even more brilliant My Gun and their self-titled first album, The Rubens have been one of the bands to namecheck in Australia – and now internationally, with release deals done and northern hemisphere summer festival dates.
Sam and his bandmates remain in awe of the circumstances which put them on these big stages in front of a sea of people.
‘‘At a show like (Springsteen) or a festival, where there’s a sea of people, it’s overwhelming,’’ he says.
‘‘I can’t help but smile for a little bit when I walk on stage and think, ‘oh’. It happened at Splendour and Laneway, too.’’
The Rubens don’t think too much about why they are selling out gigs and touring overseas in support of the record’s release in the US mid-year. They are simply grateful for all the opportunities.
The quartet from Menagle, in Sydney’s outerwestern suburbs, seem intent to enjoy the ride while working up new songs, determined to stay creative while still promoting their debut record.
Sam credits Triple J’s support for Lay It Down right off the bat for taking their music to the masses and cementing the loyalty of their early adopter fans. Very good shows have helped spread the word. ‘‘I do think we have got good songs and I think we can write better songs. We are writing right now. We have lots of ideas and a few songs complete,’’ he says.
‘‘I literally lock myself away for a week; it’s not hard as long as you are in the mindset.’’
– KATHY McCABE
The Rubens, Oh Mercy, Walk the Moon and MT Warning play the Coolangatta Hotel tonight. The Rubens also play Splendour in the Grass, from July 26-28.
The Rubens (from left): Sam Margin, Scott Baldwin, Zaac Margin and Elliott Margin are ready to tuck into the US.