Live | Bombay Bicycle Club @ Brixton Academy, 19/10/2011

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Bombay Bicycle Club gave the crowd at Brixton Academy on Wednesday 19th October a real treat, rattling through the best of their material from the last couple of years as seamlessly as a band that has been together for decades.

They opened with ‘Shuffle’ a track from new album A Different Kind of Fix, and immediately the energy was through the roof. ‘Your Eyes’, a standout from the album, was next and heralded the entrance of Lucy Rose (onstage for the second time that night after playing with support band Dry The River). If, at this point, the crowd thought they were in for a ‘new stuff only’ type of gig, they were swiftly proved wrong.  Jack Steadman and his pals then embarked on ‘Dust On The Ground’ from first album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose. Given that this song is a quieter offering than many of the tracks on that album, the boys really rocked it on the night.

They revisited a lot of their much-loved older material throughout the set, even stopping to admit just before launching into the raucous ‘Open House’, “We haven’t played this for a couple of years.” This bit of communication was unusual in itself as the band barely stopped for breath between songs (which kept the energy rising relentlessly).  By the time we made a return to the most current album with ‘Leave It’ the crowd was well and truly warmed up. ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ got perhaps the biggest reaction of the night, indicating that a large proportion of the crowd were recent converts.

‘Always Like This’ was a true highlight and made us wonder whether the band hadn’t taken a (small) leaf out of Beirut’s book – the addition of some brass gave the track an almost Latin vibe.

Jack took to the stage alone for the first song of the encore and sang a beautiful, more than faintly Thom Yorke-tinged, version of ‘Still’ – the last track on ‘A Different Kind of Fix’. Just Steadman’s powerful yet vulnerable voice and the piano echoed through the Academy, bringing everyone down to earth a bit before ending on a storming version of ‘What If’. The contrast between these two tracks provided a great example of what Bombay Bicycle Club can do: in one instant write beautiful music that, at its best, rivals the likes of Radiohead, and in the next make a venue full of people jump around to what has become an indie rock standard.

Emma Barlow

Here’s a brand-spanking new video for ‘Still,’ to top up your BBC levels.