Live Reviews

Bombay Bicycle Club: O2 Academy, Birmingham – 08/03/2014

It’s rare for a concert to be perfect. Yet from the moment the doors opened and the venue PA was blaring a combination of 70/80 and present day remixes, right through to the Crouch-End quartet taking their final bow, this evening was perfect.

As the lights dimmed for the first time of three; London four-piece Flyte  made their way onto the front of the stage. Their surf inspired sound; similar to that of Theme Park, seems much more crisp than anything about at the moment. Perfect vocals from Will Taylor; to be compared to Conor O’Brien from Villagers, are accompanied flawlessly by the band. ‘Chasing Heaven’ was a stand out track from their set; the laid back tune erupts into life, making the Academy crowd shuffle for the first time. There is very little surprise Bombay Bicycle Club invited the novices out on the road with them; Flyte’s sound and composition is faultless.

Similar to the position of Lucy Rose on previous Bombay Bicycle Club tours; the ‘solo-singer-in-her-own-right’ Rae Morris features on Bombay Bicycle Club’s latest release So Long, See You Tomorrow and was invited to accompany the band, offering her a half-hour slot at each date. Whilst it might seem an unusual support slot, Rae Morris’ unique voice resonated throughout the venue. Sitting behind her piano at the centre of stage; the singer, joined by her three-piece band played an effortless set. Performing tracks from her upcoming album as well as songs from her EPs; the set highlight was ‘Grow’. The hypnotic track filled the Academy, halting all conversations and ensured everyone was fully paying attention to the songwriter.

As the stage was being prepared; instruments and lights tested to ensure perfection, the PA once again impressed. Playing a mix of high energy warm-up tracks which included Fatboy Slims, ‘Praise You’ and a wholly-sung back version of Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’ kept the crowd more than occupied. The lights dimmed for the final time and as the music transformed into the slow, English tweed country feel of ‘Overdone’, on walked Bombay Bicycle Club. Joined by a three piece brass section; plus Liz Lawrence on backing vocals and Louis Bhose on keys and pads (of which there are a few); Bombay Bicycle Club mixed well between albums.

It was A Different Kind of Fix single ‘Shuffle’ that provided the first real moment of the gig; the vast standing area bouncing in unison to the 2011 summer anthem. That didn’t mean the crowd were only there for the old songs; new songs from So Long, See You Tomorrow, including ‘Come To’ and ‘Home By Now’ were greeted with huge cheers. As did ‘Feel’; with the band settled, the Turkish influenced track saw guitarist Jamie move to the centre of the stage, joining singer Jack Steadman to solo. A cheer raised as Jack introduced ‘Whenever, Wherever’, ironically dedicating it to Shakira, who has a track of the same name.

Rae Morris returned to the stage for ‘Luna’; the most recent single from the band and one which earned the band a huge amount of radio play. The crowd erupted again, deafeningly singing along. Yet, it was the debut album; I Had the Blues But Shook Them Loose track ‘Always Like This’ which caused the most mayhem. The bands breakthrough track is one of the most loved amongst fans; however, judging by it’s reaction, it will soon to be joined by ‘Carry Me’, the dance orientated track; which included a live saxophonist, closed the evening and will surely be the summer anthem of 2014.

The evening was summed up as the lights rose and the band walked off stage. The PA once again started playing music; this time Shakira, and her ‘Whenever, Wherever’. The crowd; sweaty, exhausted and entertained slowly moved to the exits, singing along to the pop classic. Even after the band left the stage, Bombay Bicycle Club were working the crowd. From start to finish, this show was faultless; stunning support and well produced show – now, where will they all be over the summer?

Samuel Litherland

Digital and Live Editor of Soundcheck. I am a huge fan of emerging new music. You can usually find me in a field over the summer.