Friday 21 October 2011

Gig Review - Bombay Bicycle Club @ Newcastle o2 Academy, 1/10/11

Fresh off the back of their third and best album to date, A Different Kind Of Fix, Bombay Bicycle Club ventured on their biggest UK tour so far to showcase the newfound maturity of their latest tunes.

The notably adolescent crowd gathered for opening act Dog Is Dead, the brightest hope of the rapidly exploding Nottingham music scene. Best known for their appearance in the latest series of Skins, they played a fantastic set taking in fan favourites and material from their forthcoming album. ‘Young’ was brilliant as ever with crisp, powerful harmonies, new single ‘Hands Down’ already sounded anthemic, whilst their set closer, a new song, was truly electrifying.

Dog Is Dead - Motel by thisisfakediy

As the sold-out crowd continued to pile in, Dry the River took their blend of alt-rock and folk to the stage and played a short but stunning set. Two singles into their career, they already sound astonishingly confident, with songs simultaneously intricate and powerful – like if Fleet Foxes grew a huge pair of cojones. Ending with the spine tinglingly beautiful ‘Lion’s Den’, it was a travesty that the majority of the crowd talked over their set. The world simply needs an album from these guys. Right now.

Dry the River - "No Rest" by Dry the River

With a lengthy wait before Bombay Bicycle Club emerged, the audience were getting restless. And incredibly annoying. Jostling to the choice picks of a between-sets DJ, the two thirds of the crowd not being arseholes were scowling at the third that were. It didn’t stop when the band finally arrived and kicked straight into ‘Shuffle’, to which half the crowd tried unsuccessfully to mosh and began ill-suited shoving matches.

The new album material provided the majority of set highlights. New single ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ grooved along on a buoyant bassline, as did the fantastically layered ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’. In contrast, most of the first album material sounded stagnant, all of the loud ‘epic’ moments revealing themselves as blustery noise with no hooks to back them up. However ‘Always Like This’ was fantastic, and should have ended the set in the place of ‘Beggars’. A mini-set of Flaws tracks sounded great, managing the tricky task of not sounding too out of place.

Bombay Bicycle Club - How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep by Terrorize

Bombay Bicycle Club are in need of a more charismatic frontman and a few more killer tunes if they’re to be a brilliant live act. As it stands they were, on the whole, very good, but on this tour it was hard not to feel that they were outshone by their own support acts.

Originally published in The Courier

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