The Ruben’s: Centre Stage

Last Friday, a packed-out audience at the Canberra Theatre Centre was presented with an electrifying concert from Aussie alternative rock band the Rubens.

With the announcement of the Sydney CBD cluster, the band was worried that they were going to be unable to perform in Canberra due to tightening COVID-19 restrictions. However, this COVID-safe gig showed that dancing in your seats could also be an enjoyable experience.

This year marks the tenth anniversary since The Rubens, a four-piece band from Menangle, New South Wales, shot to fame. The band includes brothers Sam Margin (vocals/ guitar), Zaac Margin (guitar), and Elliott Margin (keyboard/ vocals). The band of brothers also welcomed Scott Baldwin (drums) into the family, and in 2011 their soulful rock band was born.

These once proclaimed, ‘small town boys’ are now recognised globally for their catchy tunes, including hit songs Hoops and Million Man, and have generated a worldwide fan base. The band has played at top venues around the world, including the Reeperbahn festival in Germany (2019), New Year’s Music Festival in Indonesia (2018), and various venues on their North America and Canada tour (2019).

The band’s nationally recognised presence is also evident through their many Australian tours and festival appearances over the years. However, this year’s 0202 tour isn’t like the others.

The Rubens recently released their newest album 0202, which has given them the freedom to find their new and upgraded sound. The boys used the COVID-19 lockdown as a positive experience, writing and producing music that means something to them.

0202, an honest acknowledgement of the pandemic and the year 2020, is a mix of old sounds and new and results from the band’s ability to write music without time restraints or industry pressures.

Unfortunately, the 0202 tour was rescheduled around the country several times due to COVID-19, but the long-awaited Canberra show was able to go ahead. 

The crowd was shaking with anticipation before the Ruben’s stepped out onto the stage. There was a huge roar of applause as they walked out from the sidelines and started to play. Lead singer Sam’s strong, brassy vocals filled the theatre while people danced and sang along in their chairs.

The atmosphere throughout the show was incredible. Enforced seating rules did not stop fans from enjoying their experience. Sam addressed the energy from the audience and said, “It is bulls**t not being able to stand, but you have made us comfortable.”

The band sang a mix of their old and new songs, keeping the crowd on their metaphorical toes for what would come next. Unexpectedly, mid-set, the Rubens played their hit song Hoops, and the whole crowd sang along with them.

This energy continued throughout the show and continued to get louder as the band interacted with the audience. When the show abruptly ended, fans were not letting them go so quickly.

The Canberra Theatre Centre was alive with roars from the audience demanding an encore and wild fans stamping their feet, making the whole room rumble. The band obliged and came out to perform a three-song encore, including Million Man, where The Rubens continued to show their on-stage chemistry.

The audience was not disappointed, and The Rubens once again commented on the everlasting energy of the Canberran’s before they left the stage.

We can’t wait to see these nationally renowned small-town boys again when they hopefully return to Canberra.

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