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Bombay Bicycle Club – Leeds O2 Academy

October 4, 2011

So where to begin?

I’ve been wanting to see these guys for a long while and following on from my previous few posts ranting a little about missing out on seeing my favourite bands before they split up (or in some cases get so huge I can’t afford to see them or find it at all worthwhile anyway) I was deeply looking forward to seeing Bombay Bicycle Club.

Having also had a small amount of free time at work while staying late I decided to quickly check out the one confirmed support act and found them to be quite pleasant and very similar to Bombay Bicycle Club although somewhat less intense, but quirky enough for me to be quite pleased at the idea of them playing.

So first bugger of the evening turned out to be that my tickets were for the balcony – which basically meant leaning on a wall or having a seat – either of which tends to make you feel more than a little distanced.  Second bugger came from somehow picking the one row where every other person seemed to be in possession of bladders the combined size of a gerbils penis (something I assume to be incredibly tiny).

These small issues aside I took the opportunity to be able to sit back and really enjoy what proved to be an epic night of lights and sounds which had me starting a standing ovation by the end of the evening (another bugbear which I will come to later…).

Anyway, first up in the evening we had the very reasonable Dog Is Dead. Bearing in mind I only knew 2 songs prior to seeing them play I was still singing along to half of the tunes they were that catchy. They put on a very, very solid performance. The sound was excellent and the harmonies were absolutely phenomenal – no audience participation which would normally wind me up but I was enjoying their ridiculous on stage movement (clearly they had been told early on by management to move about more on stage) and overall performance was excellent.

However the surprise of the evening came from follow up act Dry The River – how have I not heard of these guys before now?? Very similar in terms of beautiful harmonies, sweet guitar licks but this time mingled with some banjo, a superb violinist and singer who was more than happy to talk to the audience, going so far as to explain why he was wearing no shoes (apparently his top button broke at a previous gig and having no belt he had to use his shoelaces as a makeshift belt and enjoyed the sensation of playing in no shoes so much he has since stuck with it!). So in fact enjoy their best track available online below:

Onto the main event however, Bombay Bicycle Club. Well I was honestly worried that after dry the river there may be no way of upstaging them…I was blissfully wrong. Starting with the first single off the new album “Shuffle” the whole room was kicking into another gig from the word go. I’ve tried looking for the set-list online as I am shocking for remember order of songs played but I can’t think of a single song I would have wanted them to play that they didn’t.

But let me try and at least highlight a few things.

  1. The sound was excellent. I mean really outstanding – vocals were perfectly mixed, keys and guitars genuinely intertwined and boomed out louder in a way that only live music can and makes you wish that the albums had half of the energy (and bear in mind their first and third albums are mixed incredibly well).
  2. Also since having seen all the many random live clips of the guys online they have hugely upped their performance in terms of moving and shaking, chatting and generally looking like they are really enjoying themselves.
  3. The songs they played of the first album sounded incredible. There was a vast difference in terms of sound, structure and performance between the newer tracks, which still sounded great, and their older stuff which just sounded phenomenal, polished and well practiced to an extreme.
  4. “Magnet”, “Evening/Morning” and “What You Want” were without comparison.
  5. Sadly weak points were two of my favourite songs “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep” and “Always Like This” which just sounded a bit thin and lifeless, no idea why.
  6. The final song of the set was Giantess which I am not normally that keen on, however the band invited Dry The River back on stage to harmonise and then they left as the song somehow melded into Emergency Contraception Blues which was not only a nice touch, but really was so heavy and full of oomph it was hard to stay in my stupid seat and not jump around wildly regardless of seating arrangements.

The encore…”Still”…there was a piano on stage and I had been staring at it with a deep sense of longing all night praying that it was an obvious hint that the song would be played. I think I was the only person in the audience to shout, much to my friends embarrassment, very, very loudly for it the moment they came back on stage. But do you know what? I don’t give a shit, it’s an incredible song and was one of the few points in the evening when I literally didn’t hear or see anything except for what was going on on-stage. It was utterly sublime and sung without shame.

After this of course I was racking my brains to think of what song I hadn’t heard that they could possibly finish on…I of course forgot “What If” easily one of my favourite songs from the debut album and an absolute corker to finish the set off with.

I would say that if opportunity arises I would happily go and see this exact gig again at another venue and have been looking around as such but tickets are scarce. It was that good.

I leave you with THE song of the night and two more quick insights. The first being that Cat Empire have a hell of a lot of work to do to beat this gig. And secondly, Flaws is still shit, sorry guys.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. j-diz permalink
    October 6, 2011 7:23 pm

    Someone posted something! It feels like forever. Well done Mr. Bingo.

    I’m glad there are others out there who also love BBC – everyone else I know seems to be indifferent at best.

    And you’re right, Flaws is a bit rubbish. Fair play for the effort though. That’s 3 albums in 3 years, and I know they have been gigging a fair bit too. Not too shabby for today’s super-lazy band standards.

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