Because it’s midnight and because I haven’t been home since 9am and because I’ve changed outfits four times in that period and because my deodorant is starting to wear thin and because Bombay Bicycle Club are more than I ever imagined and because my exhausted brain has this particular track stuck in its most profound spot and because this was the show of the year to date and just because, following is a review of Bombay Bicycle’s show last week in Sydney:
Bombay Bicycle Club are not ponces. The first thing to know about the band that rose to fame on the back of winning the 2006 edition of the ‘Road To V [Festival]’ competition is that they don’t sound like competition winners. Or a lot like what you’d imagine Bombay Bicycle Club sound like either. Listen to commercial singles ‘Shuffle’ or the pretty ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep?’ or even the tropical-themed ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ from their latest long-player ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’ and you’ll get a very different kind of band to the one on show at the buzzing Factory Theatre where Brother J and I saw them last week. The crowd might have been dominated early on by screaming girls but this was about as far away from teenage heartthrob as you could get.
Surely, there were some delicate spots. ‘Leave It’ saw the band bring on a female guest vocalist, a cutesy Lisa Mitchell-type, who certainly bolstered the harmonies. Those aforementioned cruisier tracks also came off with the help of some vocal assistance but somehow sounded disinterested, as though the band were playing the tracks more out of obligation than adoration. It was in the breakdowns to these slower tracks, when superb frontman Jack Steadman stepped away from the microphone and headbanged alongside the band’s guitarist and bass player, that we got insight into the real Bombay Bicycle Club – a band that is far louder and grungier than their comparatively clean-cut discography would suggest.
In the midst of ‘Always Like This’, as the room happily erupted into the football chant chorus that underpins the song, the real BBC made themselves known. They can easily cycle through indie vibes, crooner rock, folk-tronica and more in the space of one song but grungy tunes that see the band double up on bass guitarists ultimately win out. The demo of a new track, the percussion-heavy, noisy ‘Carry Me’ confirmed that the London quartet are at their best when they are loud and rambunctious. Sweating, heaving mess suits BBC better than quiet, serenading intellectual but the Factory Theatre got the best of both worlds tonight. Closer ‘What If’ from 2009’s ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ was explosive, aural dynamite. They can shake alright.
Bombay Bicycle Club – Always Like This