THEY CAME, they saw, they conquered - and then they said mass.
Performing on the biggest stage of their lives - the main stage at Oxegen last Sunday at 2pm - The Rubberbandits finally came of age, proving beyond a doubt that they are no mere novelty act, a thumping, pulsating, gag-filled set drawing one of the biggest crowds ever seen for an act opening the main stage in the monster arena, the watching media nodding sagely in approval of the group’s obvious talent, a salivating crowd whipped into a frenzy by the duo’s antics.
While many readers might have found the set to be eye-popping in its blasphemy - the Limerick duo rightfully do not count those among their flock, and judging by the plastic bags and horse-heads in the crowd, this was one stuffed with sterling fans of the group, who boast a quarter of a million followers on social media site Facebook alone.
Styling their high-profile Oxegen appearance along the lines of a ‘Sunday Service’, the ‘Bandits performed with an altar, pulpit - featuring an appropriately plastic-bag wearing gargoyle - and a cardinal’s robe-wearing Willie O’DJ, who even blessed the crowd and carried out a blessing of the host, while the rappers urged the crowd to kneel before him, which they duly did.
Stripping choir boys, irreverent ‘prayers of the faithful’, apostolic readings and a bagful of the ‘Bandits’ crowd-friendly tunes sent the masses into a tizzy, as Mr Chrome and Blind Boy Boat Club raced from side to side of the massive stage, which would later play host to Beyonce and Coldplay. Yes, you read that right - two lads from Limerick, wearing plastic bags on their heads, performed on the same stage as two of the biggest acts in the world.
Finishing with their smash hit ‘Horse Outside’, which narrowly missed out on Christmas number one last year and has nearly 8 million views on You Tube, the duo were joined on stage by a live band and a James Brown lookalike they introduced as ‘God’ - aka Buck Taylor - bringing a mighty roar from the crowd as they played an extended live groove of the song to finish an impressive set.
With that, they were gone, but with major festival appearances at Latitude, Reading and Electric Picnic festivals to come, plus television specials on MTV and Channel Four - you certainly haven’t heard the last of these Bandits.
The Rubberbandits play in Dolan’s this Friday.