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Live Review: Bombay Bicycle Club

Kate Mitchell makes us all jealous watching Bombay Bicycle Club in Leeds.

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Photo: Haags Uitburo
Photo: Haags Uitburo

This February, Bombay Bicycle Club burst back onto the music scene with their fourth studio album, So Long, See You Tomorrow. The bold, colourful design of said record's album art epitomises its departure from earlier outputs into more exhilarating, electronic territory. Giving the band their first number one, this change of style seems to have paid off rather nicely. A month later they took this album on the road, beginning on Yorkshire soil at the O2 Academy in Leeds.

The venue's slightly bizarre policy of unreserved seating led to a pre-show scramble for seating that was reminiscent of a Ryanair flight. However the fact that even the latecomers forced to stand uncomfortably straddling two steps with a limited view of the stage did not find cause to complain is testimony to the level of support this band has attracted.

They began with the opening two tracks of So Long, See You Tomorrow; 'Overdone' and 'It's Alright Now'. The former is a thumping tune that seems to say, "we're back and we mean business." It also became apparent during these two numbers that a seeming requirement to be part of Bombay Bicycle Club and their extended live ensemble is the ability to enthusiastically leap whilst swaying one's head from side-to-side in a motion that is the embodiment of carefree happiness.

Up next was fan-favourite 'Shuffle', which had the standing crowd dancing and even their seated counterparts enthusiastically foot-tapping. The band continued with a mixture of new tracks and old favourites. 'How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep' stood out in particular, partially because it is an exceptional song, and partly because during this song the staging came to life, with a constantly changing psychedelic pattern being projected onto five screens behind the band that can only be described as a cross between the Olympic rings and a set of Quidditch hoops.

Before playing 'Whenever, Wherever' lead singer Jack Steadman quipped that the only reason they had reached number one was because a number of bamboozled shoppers had mistaken their album for a compilation featuring the Shakira track of the same name. Although Bombay's track does not feature such lyrical gems as 'Lucky that my breasts are small and humble/so you don't confuse them for mountains', it does have many merits, with its tempo building up beautifully to a stunning climax that translated perfectly to a live setting. The band then transitioned into latest single and stand-out track from the new album, 'Luna'. This sweet and summery tune features guest vocals from support act Rae Morris, with her and Steadman's vocals blending together perfectly. The only disappointment was the absence of personal favourite track, 'Ivy and Gold'. However one cannot have everything one desires, and, in all, it was a great show by a band who have more than proved that you do not need a consistent sound to maintain a supportive fan-base.

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