Bombay Bicycle Club: 5 March 2012 - New York
Expanded line up and bigger venue doesn't diminish youthful exuberance.
It’s been a busy year since PopMatters covered the London-based band Bombay Bicycle Club at their first American gig last March in the confines of Mercury Lounge. Singer/Songwriter Jack Steadman still leads the charge from center stage, with bassist Ed Nash on one side and guitarist Jamie MacColl on the other. Together they power through their indie rock with drummer Suren de Saram blasting behind them, but keep each other in check for softer dynamics when needed. When the energy is dialed high, the trio backs off the edge of the stage into their thrashing zone together as the core sound. All the hard work of touring and producing another album has not dimmed their excitement to be on stage, and they are clearly able to enjoy their time together in live performance.
The band took to the stage at Bowery Ballroom with the lilting melody of “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep”, off last year’s release A Different Kind of Fix. The single was featured in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack and now has its own EP of remixes, so cheers of recognition greeted this offering. They all seemed comfortable on the bigger stage, with the expanded sound of additional members on keyboard, trumpet and vocal harmonies. (Songstress Lucy Rose joined the group for additional vocal support on some of the newer songs after opening the evening, appearing solo on acoustic guitar.)
Steadman thanked the crowd for the reception and asked how everyone was doing, which was answered by another cheer. Later he would call the audience “Manhattan” to delineate from another sold out show in Brooklyn a few days earlier. He was all smiles, bouncing along with “Your Eyes” and “Bad Timing”, before the band reached back to their beginnings in a rollicking version of “Open House” from their first EP. Orchestral layers of keyboard brought a majestic vision to “Dust on the Ground” off 2009’s I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose, with Steadman looking slyly at the audience from under his long bangs. Mid-set the band presented two songs from their folk influenced release of 2010, Flaws, highlighting Steadman’s natural tremolo in “Rinse Me Down” and “Ivy and Gold”.
Things cranked up again with the guitar alarms of another single,“Evening/Morning”, and its repeating lyrics, “I am ready to owe you anything”. Their hit, “Always Like This”, provided a sing along for the crowd as prompted by Steadman’s microphone thrust in their direction and MacColl suggesting hand claps accordingly. The encore brought out the keyboard blasts of “Shuffle” before ending with the guitar driven melody of “What If”.