As the announcement of this year's Mercury Music prize nominees gets ever nearer the music critics of the UK have been looking into their crystal balls, unused since January, and begun predicting names likely to feature on the shortlist. In amongst the tips for standard Emeli Sande and alt-favourites Alt-J is tonight's headline act Rustie, popping up time and time again.
Deservedly so too as, if this evening is anything to go by, it would be impossible to argue that Rustie does not represent the kind of exciting, innovative and boundary pushing music that could only exist in 2012.
First up, however, are AlunaGeorge (expect them to feature heavily come the next January tipping season) with their blend of 90's r&b atop a turn of the century garage backdrop. Aluna has a magnetic presence, as the creepy nods various male audience members give each other as she takes off her jacket prove, in a way. She attacks songs like 'Just A Touch' with an energy not apparent on the laid back studio recordings and brings the air of a proper pop star to this dank North London venue. Meanwhile, George bobs and weaves behind his synths and MPC happy to have the attention diverted elsewhere. Ending with the excellent 'Your Drums, Your Love' AlunaGeorge show they are a pop act brought to life through a dance filter and not the other way around. It's a refreshing approach and the fourth huge chorus of the evening brings a promising set to a close.
While AlunaGeorge favour simplicity, Rustie is all about maximalism and packs an enormous amount into his hour long headline set. We've all seen those videos of choreographed firework displays going off prematurely, accidentally sending thousands of explosions off at once, well, Rustie makes music like that - on purpose. The skill, though, lay in making this confusion into something cohesive and that he does, traversing the many terrains found on his stellar 'Glass Swords' album with style, casually setting off mosh pits at the flick of a switch.
Pete Tong, the man who brought Rustie to wider attention earlier this year through the Scottish producer's Essential Mix for his Radio 1 show, watches on as Rustie cuts and weaves his way through the likes of 'Hover Traps', 'City Star' and 'Ultra Thizz', leaving the crowd either bobbing their heads or losing their minds.
The night ends with Rustie holding aloft a gold medal handed to him by a mystery member of Team GB situated front and centre as he plays 'After Light', as heard on the Adidas advert this Summer. With the approval of industry icons and Olympic medalists alike, surely the Mercury panel is next, right?