Pendulum’s huge arena show proves the electro-rockers are still at the top of their game after two decades

The Australian band take no prisoners throughout a career-spanning show where the hard and fast sounds are as intense as the strobes and visuals.

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Pendulum Live at Birmingham Resorts World Arena

Pendulum Live at Birmingham Resorts World Arena. Image: Josh James

Few bands manage to unify ravers, rockers and screamo fans quite like Pendulum – and, on the strength of their sonic explosion of a headline performance at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena, it’s easy to see why.

Taking to the massive stage amid their biggest UK tour in more than 10 years, which also includes a headline show at The 02 in London, the platinum-selling Australian band’s aural and visual onslaught instantly proves why they’re certainly no legacy act.

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Despite bursting onto the scene two decades ago, it’s clear that the platform-elevated group – consisting of vocalist Rob Swire with his Ztar Z6S-XPA MIDI guitar (custom built by Starr Labs), Gareth McGrillen on bass and vocals, Peredur ap Gwynedd on guitar, KJ Sawka on drums, and Paul Harding on DJ duties – are as energised as ever.

Pendulum Live at Birmingham Resorts World Arena
Rob Swire, Starr Labs’ Ztar Z6S-XPA MIDI guitar. Image: Jaden Tiger Moss

The band’s diverse, 8,000-strong crowd is equally dedicated: a mix of ages, ranging from dads introducing their sons to the band’s hybrid sound to couples reliving their teenage years, the sea of black leather jackets and band hoodies (including many Korn and Nirvana ones) further reflect their wide-ranging appeal.

Onto the high-tech show and, after glitchy visuals on tall screens and a narrator-led opening that signals it’s time to “awaken the beast within”, the group kickstart their intense live production with the unreleased anthem-in-waiting Napalm.

An eruptive fusion of drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep and Slipknot-style metal, it somehow manages to fuse Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name with dystopian-future Black Mirror-esque lyrics that unleash an anti-establishment message: “Right control, break it strong; Keep ’em up, break them all”.

After just three songs, including a wildly-revived Propane Nightmares, circle pits break out left, right and centre. Before long, people are up on shoulders crowd-surfing to the front, with jumpers and beers flying overhead.

“If you took three pills and told your girlfriend it would be like Baddadan, you’re going to have a very difficult train ride home,” booms an ominous voice through the speakers early on. Alluding to the top-10 hit by Chase & Status, it’s a statement that resonates strongly with the band’s uncompromising ethos.

Yes, there’s plenty of on-trend live drum ‘n’ bass, but their sound stretches far beyond, incorporating plenty of screamo moments and thrashing guitar riffs; there’s even a curveball hardstyle moment with neon strobes that, while being a barrage of gabber, certifies that you really do get it all at a Pendulum gig.

Pendulum Live at Birmingham Resorts World Arena
Pendulum at Resorts World Arena, Birmingham.
Image: Ross Silcocks, EntiretyLabs.

“This is the sonic recreation of the end of the world”, the narrator accurately tells the audience halfway through the 90-minute set, which balances nostalgic throwback hits and newer anthems.

Seamlessly flitting between tracks from their breakthrough 2010 album Immersion and cuts from their most recent EP, 2023’s Anima, tried-and-tested fan favourites from almost a decade and a half ago, like Watercolour and Witchcraft, work well alongside the band’s latest screamo-leaning releases, such as Halo (featuring Bullet For My Valentine).

Pendulum Live at Birmingham Resorts World Arena
Pendulum Live at Birmingham Resorts World Arena. Image: Ross Silcocks, EntiretyLabs

A reappearance from support act Scarlxrd elevates the rapper’s rage-trap-rock collab with the band, Mercy Killing, to a whole other level, with the refrain of “time is running out” coalescing into a headbanging apocalypse.

With a slot at Reading and Leeds Festival — the perfect festival, considering it’s split between rock and dance music — lined up for the summer, Pendulum are likely to once again welcome a new legion of fans into their world. Suffice to say, these electro-rockers are at the top of their game and aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

Pendulum Live at Birmingham Resorts World Arena
Pendulum Live at Birmingham Resorts World Arena. Image: Josh James

Check Pendulum’s upcoming dates and music at


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