Bombay Bicycle Club (UK)

Jack Steadman, Bombay Bicycle Clube (The Forum, 20th March 2012)

Jack Steadman, Bombay Bicycle Clube (The Forum, 20th March 2012)

London lads Bombay Bicycle Club seemingly exceeded even their own expectations with their standalone shows in Melbourne. Originally booked for Richmond’s Corner Hotel, ticket sales were so fierce that it saw the gig moved to the far more plush surrounds of the Forum Theatre.

In Melbourne to support Mancunians Elbow the following night, Bombay Bicycle Club  seemed to revel in headlining their own stage.

Already with 3 albums behind them, the boys from Crouch End in North London delivered a set which showed why they’ve gained such a big following back home in the UK.

What’s clear from the moment Jack Steadman strides to the front of stage is just how capable a live act BBC are. Musically, the sound is as true to the record as anything you’d hear, and Steadman’s voice is a melodic missile that cuts through the mix provided by bandmates Jamie MacColl (Guitar), the babyfaced Ed Nash (Bass) and Suren De Saram (Drums). Louis Bhose does an incredible job also on keys, guitar and banjo.

They’re admittedly shy though, and rely heavily on the songs to reach the audience rather than engaging in too much on stage chat. Thankfully, the strength of the songs carries the crowd along with them.

Kicking off the night with How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, the slow burning opener from last year’s A Different Kind of Fix, it doesn’t take the band long to kick into gear. The metronomic intro of Your Eyes follows, and Steadman’s high pitched vocal floats over the low-fi backing from the band.

Stepping back briefly to 2009, Magnet - the third single from debut album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose - sees the band click into a higher gear, wrestling with their guitars against furious strobing. Hey, it was a prick to photograph but it looked pretty good.

Atmospheric guitar work is the key to Bad Timing, and what’s clear already is that a main ingredient in Bombay Bicycle Club’s sound is space. The parts complement each other, but none overpower. The Forum helps as a venue immensely, the sound quality let’s the distance between the musical parts cut right through.

Whilst it’s the simple guitar lines that get stuck in your head, it’s the tight rhythms that hold each song together. Nash and De Saram are solid, and the latter in particularly shines on the no doubt Celtic inspired Ivy And Gold. It involves a lengthy but never tedious drum solo, and it gets a huge response from the crowd who are now well and truly into the set.

The laid back groove of Always Like This is a highlight, and in the middle of the crowd Steadman is presented with a proposal on paper. It reads “JACK, WILL YOU SHARE A JOINT WITH US TONIGHT?”. It’s one of the few times the frontman breaks into a smile, but whether he took them up on the offer remains a mystery.

This is a brilliant performance from the Londoners, and whilst they’ll have a slightly tougher time of it opening for Elbow tomorrow night due to the shorter set and without the focus as the main act, they showed tonight that they’re a group of young blokes on the rise. It’s hard not to get the feeling that it’s not the  last venue upgrade they’ll be faced with in their career.

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