Bombay Bicycle Club at Earls Court

December 15, 2014

Joined by David Gilmore onstage, Bombay Bicycle Club brought the curtain down on Londons iconic Earls Court last night (Saturday 13th).

Humble, endearing and infinitely fascinating, the London-based outfit made the transition from club to arena effortlessly; all it seems without the grotesque formulation of slicked back hair and Elvis Presley impersonations (ahem, looking at you Mr Turner). Indeed, whilst they indulged the sell-out crowd with ticker tape and pyrotechnics, it didnt feel forced or as part of an elaborate, arena checklist written by Chris Martin.

Born out of an era of somewhat vulgar indie, the ability of Bombay Bicycle Club to execute constant reinvention without losing an appreciation of what has gone before is what defines and sustains them. This is equally true of their live set, as whilst we jump between indie, acoustic and rich, electronic pop, there never lacks a sense of cohesion. The constants in the heart-warming vocals of singer Jack Steadman, as well as the ever-present melodical precision of the group as a collective allows them to dip their toes in various pools, without stepping too far from familiarity.

In a set for which toed and froed between the eclectic offerings from each of the band’s four albums, the band opened with Overdone, before storming through fan favourites Shuffle and Lights Out, Words Gone. Frequent collaborator Liz Lawrence comes in-and-out of the set, who tonally serves to highlight Steadmans vocal merit, despite his somewhat unassuming style as a frontman. Indeed, amid her delightful melodic synergy with Steadman, his sparkling lyricism becomes evident, none more so than in a particularly haunting rendition of Home By Now.

Inevitably, all was upstaged by the appearance of David Gilmore who joined Steadman and co onstage halfway through the set to play steel guitar on Rinse Me Down, before taking to an acoustic for a rendition of Wish You Were Here, much to the adulation of the sell-out crowd. The mere appearance of Gilmore – who has himself graced Earls Court on a number of occasions – pays a fitting tribute as to the legitimacy of Bombay Bicycle Clubs transcending into the higher brackets of musics standings.

Perhaps pleasingly for Bombay, songs from their most recent release So Long, See You Tomorrow resonated equally, if not more so, than older favourites such as Evening/Morning. Indeed, despite boasting a PA rival only to that used at the Death Star Christmas party, Earls Court was at times almost totally drowned out by the crowd. This, evident in tracks such as Feel and Luna for which burst with colour and energy, producing hysteria in the carnival-like finale of Earls Courts last hurrah.

With the night coming to a close, the addition of a brass section within Always Like This, raised chaos before guitarist Jamie MacColl called upon the adoring crowd to give… a fitting tribute to Earls Court in their finisher Carry Me. Heeding to MacColls call faithfully, echoes of You Carry! You Carry! You Carry Me! bounced off the walls of the London Underground long after the doors of Earls Court had shut for the final time; this, a night that added yet further sparkle to an already faultless 2014 for the Mercury Award nominees.

Matt Taylor

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