Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Bombay Bicycle Club – Brixton Academy, London 13/03/14

18 March 2014, 11:00 | Written by George O'Brien

The ongoing guitar band debate is as dull as it seemingly unrelenting. It has become the stuff of pub cliché; the nostalgic bloke rambling, “They don’t make ‘em like they used to”. Nevertheless one can’t ignore the “garage band” has for the most part been replaced by the “bedroom producer”, as the volume of new electronically-minded, dance-floor-conscious artists continue to dominate internet and radio alike.

There are pockets of hope for the six-string though: Circa Waves are making gutsy Strokes-inspired indie, Wolf Alice are well on their way to ticking all the rock n’ roll boxes and Drenge are as raw as the name suggests. But while we sit patiently for these exciting UK hopefuls to blossom and truly find their feet, we are blessed with a relentlessly impressive Fender-wielding band in their prime.

Since 2005 Bombay Bicycle Club have appeared one step ahead of the curve; malleable, experimental and nonchalant with no hint of arrogance, the Crouch End four have developed from the thrashing aggression of I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose, pulling carefully adapted elements of the electronic world to create two further brilliant records in A Different Kind Of Fix and their latest – for which tonight is a sort of celebration – chart-topping So Long, See You Tomorrow.

Following a stunning support slot from the gorgeously talented Rae Morris, showcasing her rich and passionate vocal, the band appear to a mass of screams and the ethnic opening of “Overdone”. Alongside “Evening / Morning”, with its bludgeoning distorted bass refrain, it is one of the bands most pumped-up tracks with a riff to rival Arctic Monkeys’ recent efforts and sets the tone with magical power, heightened by the astrological visuals that dominate the stage.

Indeed the first parts of the set immediately highlights the bands most potent weapons: a beefy knack for punchy layered bass and guitar lines and their new-found foreign hue that makes standing still a genuine challenge. A three-piece brass section brings new levels of life and colour to the already foxtrotting feet of “Lights Out ,Words Gone” and the subcontinental revelry of “Feel”. Dedicating “Whenever, Wherever” to Shakira brings some gentle humour, before “Luna” and “Always Like This” back-to-back is an inspired, crowd-pleasing set choice; the latter remains one of their most wonderfully enjoyable live tracks.

Returning to the stage for the spine-tingling indie juggernaut “What If” reminds us all of the raw roots from which they have come and is a passionate cry to rock n’ roll in the face of the stale aforementioned debate. It really is impossible to fault such a live performance from a band as sonically ambitious, tirelessly energetic and with such an obvious drive to develop as Bombay Bicycle Club; they continue to go from strength to strength.

Set List
It’s Alright Now
Come To
Your Eyes
Home By Now
Lights Out, Words Gone
Eyes Off You
Whenever, Wherever
Always Like This
So Long, See You Tomorrow

What If
Carry Me

Photograph by Burak Cingi. See the entire gig gallery here.

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