Clean Bandit wouldn't 'Rather Be' anywhere but Israel

British electropop band gave local fans a dance party - and even a marriage proposal.

Clean Bandit in concert in Israel  (photo credit: AMY SPIRO)
Clean Bandit in concert in Israel
(photo credit: AMY SPIRO)
By the time Clean Bandit came on stage at 10:30pm in Rishon Lezion Thursday night, the crowd was getting restless.
Doors opened at 7pm, and by 9:30 the three teenybopper opening acts - Adi Bity, Anna Zak and Agam Buhbut - had finished performing. An hour later, after a DJ act that started fun but dragged on, Clean Bandit finally took the stage at the Rishon Lezion Live Park. Well, sort of.
On Wednesday, the British electropop band announced that one of the three main group members - keyboardist Jack Patterson - wouldn't make the show due to illness. While the local production company offered refunds to those who wanted, it would be unfortunate if anyone took them up on it.
Because the two remaining members - Grace Chatto and Luke Patterson - and their impressive slate of touring accompaniments, put on a memorable show.
Perhaps knowing they needed to rev up the sweaty crowd, Clean Bandit started out with their smash hit "Symphony" - and the more than 10,000 people in attendance went wild.
"We're so excited to be here with you," Chatto told the crowd twice throughout the show. "It's our first time in Israel - thanks so much for the warm welcome."
Chatto, the lead singer, showed off her impressively powerful vocals, as well as her skills on a variety of instruments. With talented touring singers Kirsten Joy and Yasmin Green on stage, plus violinist Stephanie Benedetti, there was a real girl power vibe at the venue.
After "Symphony," the band transitioned into "Real Love," and then "Extraordinary," "Disconnect" and "Stronger." The powerhouse dance beat made some of the songs blend into each other, and it felt like the band lost the crowd a little with the lesser-known tunes.
But when they burst out with "Solo," their most recent single - and added in sparklers, smoke effects and streamers - the crowd roared back to life. The dancing, excitement and beat were infectious. The same occurred with the catchy 2016 hit "Rockabye," and all those who had grumbled through the wait for the band were sufficiently reenergized.
The group ended out the night with their first big hit single, 2014's romantic "Rather Be." And what better way to end Tu B'av, the Jewish holiday of love, than with a proposal? When a local man asked his boyfriend to marry him on stage - "this week, when we're fighting for our rights" - the crowd cheered and applauded almost as loud as they did for any of the songs.
Mazel tov!