As an avid Bombay Bicycle Club fan, I can proudly say that this was the fourth time I had ventured to see the band live. I had all the hesitations that one has when they’re preparing to see their favourite band live. Would they live up to my expectations? Would their set be a little bit stale? Would my review me too biased? (Possibly.) Fortunately, there was nothing to worry about. The entire night, from the first support act, Sivu, through to the last notes of Carry Me and the dimming of the overheads at 11pm, was a success.
I only managed to catch the latter half of Sivu’s set, but it was enough to convince me to check them out once I went back home (so I guess they did their job correctly then). Sivu strike me as newcomers on the alt-rock circuit that are soon to be everywhere. Taking clear influences from the likes of Alt-J and Bombay, these guys were right up my street.
Next up were Peace, and judging by the reception that they received from the crowd, many in the audience had shown up just to see this indie quartet. Missing was their famous furry coats (instead the band had donned a coordinating set of striped turtleneck jumpers), and unfortunately, a few of their most famous hits were also nowhere to be heard. A favourite of mine, Bloodshake, was left out of the set list altogether, and most of the bands older material was used as a bookend in order to capture the crowd’s attention at the beginning and end of their performance.
I could tell that these guys were using the support slot as an opportunity to promote their new album, due for release early next year. For those who wanted to hear new material, this performance would have been ideal: Money, Lost On Me, and World Pleasure were just a few of the new songs that we were given a preview of. However, I feel as though Peace have gone in a much more poppy direction than previously. While this may please some, I can’t say I’m too excited about it, as my favourite thing about them is their grungey guitars (à la Follow Baby) and almost Oasis-like Brit pop vibe (as heard on Sugarstone).
After Peace’s performance I was more than ready for Bombay Bicycle Club. I felt like the crowd really needed a good shake-up as everyone seemed to be standing still and it all looked a little bit too stationary for my liking. I knew that Bombay would be sure to change that as they’re always readily teamed with a brass band to give that injection of funk. I was not disappointed. The band kicked things off with Overdue, and the regular light show that accompanied them on their last UK tour. Following this was Come To, Your Eyes, and some other classics from their most recent albums. But then came a surprise.
One thing I’ve found about Bombay Bicycle Club’s live shows in the past (and this is a criticism that can be made for a lot of bands that have more than two albums) is that they seem to have forgotten their old material a little bit. Of course we’re always sure to hear What If, and maybe Evening/Morning if we’re really lucky - both songs from their debut - but I had never been lucky enough to witness a song from Flaws (their second LP) in the flesh. Well that was about to change.
Announcing that there was to be a change of tone, Steadman picked up his acoustic guitar and the first few notes of Rinse Me Down washed over the crowd. This was followed by the Mumford & Sons-esque Ivy & Gold, and then, incredibly, we heard The Giantess and Emergency Contraception Blues. I never thought I’d see the day but as a die-hard Bombay fan, I was very happy. And the rest of the crowd were too. I can say for sure that Bombay definitely know their audience and this lot seemed to be loving the old stuff just as much as the new. It was a night for the fans, and I’m so happy I made the effort to see them all over again.