Gig Review by Cat Onisko with Gig Photography by Drew Kirkland

Bombay Bicycle Club

It’s been two years since Bombay Bicycle Club graced Wolverhampton with their presence, and the marked change in sound and pace since their 2011 album ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ was pretty evident tonight, playing a set mostly comprising of their newer, heavier, electro and in parts R&B influenced material from their latest album ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’. Things have certainly evolved for this London 4-piece, with each of their 4 albums carrying the progression of UK indie with them, and who seem to be one of the most inventive indie bands around right now.

Bombay Bicycle Club

Supporting Bombay Bicycle Club tonight was singer-songwriter James Page aka Sivu; a 24 year old from Cambridge whose sound resides somewhere between the decadent yet bohemian sound of alt-J and the haunting falsetto vocals of Cave Painting. The video accompanying debut single ‘Better Man Than He’ features Page singing live inside an MRI scanner; it’s pretty impressive and well worth a look. Also supporting tonight are possibly the kings of the recent B-town music scene renaissance; Peace. Fuelled by their own fearlessness, their hard-core fans, and their brilliant guitar hooks; Peace are the Oasis of today’s youth, with Gallagher-esque lyrics as “we gon’ live foreeeeveer”, their seeming invincibility is infectious, and so is their music.

Bombay Bicycle Club

Unfortunately due to some major traffic issues, we missed both support acts, which was really disappointing as both Sivu and Peace could be headline acts in their own right. But not to worry, just as I got to my seat the lights faded out and a deafening scream erupted; Bombay Bicycle Club were here to make everyone’s night one to remember.

Bombay Bicycle Club

The first thing I noticed was the sheer array of percussion instruments, synth keyboards, and three separate drum kits. It’s evident from their latest album that Bombay Bicycle Club have evolved from their usual guitar reliant sound, and have been heavily influenced by their recent travels, with frontman Jack Steadman stating he’d been particularly inspired by their recent trip to Bombay (irony much?)

Bombay Bicycle Club

‘Overdone’, the first track from their latest album was first; a track which begins like a soothing lullaby, with its solitary looping string samples, culminating in an explosion of heavy synths, distorted bass and octave-shifted guitars. Right from the start, the whole band were pumped; bouncing around the stage while pulsing strobe lights illuminated the crowd. Next up was ‘Come To’ followed by ‘It’s Alright Now’, both taken from their latest album, with beautiful backing vocals and some serious shaking of tambourine by Liz Lawrence, the crowd shouting the chorus right back at them as if they were old classics. As the lights faded to black and keyboardist Louis Bhose played out the instantly recognisable staccato piano notes of ‘Shuffle’, the crowd were euphoric. One thing you can be sure of at a Bombay Bicycle Club gig is that you are going to dance. The eclectic melodies, countermelodies, and upbeat percussion really makes you feel like you’re at a carnival, and the feel-good factor they give off on stage is contagious. By now Bombay Bicycle Club were in full flow and even album tracks felt like events, surely a sign that these guys aren’t in this game for the number one’s and ticket sales, they just want people to have a good time.

Bombay Bicycle ClubBombay Bicycle Club

‘Home by Now’ set a bit more of a laid back vibe, normally sung by Steadman and Lucy Rose on their album; Liz Lawrence took over for the majority of this one, with the music really stripped back letting her beautiful voice shine through, and the crowd acting as impromptu backing singers, singing every single word back at her.

Bombay Bicycle ClubBombay Bicycle Club

Swapping their electric guitars for acoustics, and with the strobes disappearing to make way for softer lighting and no visuals, the laid back pace continued, performing a gorgeous acoustic rendition of ‘Rinse Me Down’ followed by the upbeat folksy ‘Ivy and Gold’, with drummer Suren de Saram performing an epic drum solo midway through. A couple of tracks from their 2009 album ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ followed, including ‘The Giantess’, ‘Evening Contraceptive Blues’ and the brilliant ‘Evening/Morning’.

Bombay Bicycle ClubBombay Bicycle Club

Helping create that carnival atmosphere were ‘The Brass Notes’, a three-man brass section, who added a nice additional layer to the set, and who set the pace for their next song, a fabulous jazzed up version of Robyn’s 2007 hit ‘Every Heartbeat’, adding lashings of synth and percussion to inexplicably change the track from a tragic breakup song to a danceable upbeat performance.

Bombay Bicycle Club

‘Feel’ was up next, a new track which certainly owes its style to aforementioned Bombay. As animated cobra’s looked like they were leaping out of the screens and the snake-charmer style sample played over bassy synths, the lyrics “just one feeling” repeated over and over, sending the exhilarated crowd into a dizzying spell of pure delight.

Bombay Bicycle Club

Fan favourite ‘Always Like This’ was updated with a ska-like twist thanks to the addition of the brass section, and there was a genuine sense of sadness when Bombay Bicycle Club said their goodbyes and we realised the set was coming to a close.

Bombay Bicycle Club

A few minutes later and they were back for the encore, performing the punky ‘What If’, and ending on personal favourite ‘Carry Me’; a fantastic concoction of synthy bass, crashing symbols and a new found aggression Bombay Bicycle Club have never really explored in previous albums, with the crowd (and myself) singing our absolute hearts out.

Bombay Bicycle ClubBombay Bicycle Club

The riddler-esque smiles on everyone’s faces (including the band!) as we left said it all really, it’s a feeling that’s hard to come by but somehow Bombay Bicycle Club have found that winning formula, with a fantastic stage presence and a genuine connection with their fans. Bombay Bicycle Club continue their UK tour with three more dates, before taking a well-earned break. Enjoy it guys, you thoroughly deserve it.

Bombay Bicycle Club

Set List:
Overdone
Come To
It’s Alright Now
Shuffle
Lights Out
Your Eyes
Home By Now
Whenever, Wherever
Rinse Me Down
Ivy & Gold
The Giantess
Emergency Contraceptive Blues
Evening/Morning
Dust On The Ground
Sleep
Every Heartbeat
Feel
Luna
Always Like This
So Long
Encore:
What If
Carry Me

Bombay Bicycle Club

Leave a Reply