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Bombay Bicycle Club - Cardiff University - 14th October 2011 (Live Review)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 Written by Anna Staples
Bombay Bicycle Club - Cardiff University - 14th October 2011 (Live Review)

Bombay bicycle club started life together at the tender age of 15 in London's Crouch End playing gigs at school and small local venues - three albums, 8 singles and many high profile performances later they've certainly made their name more famous than the chain of Indian Restaurant's it was taken from.

Questions surrounding them of late have focused on their seemingly ever changing genre from the more Indie Rock, to last year being pigeon holed as a Folk Band.  Following the release of their 3rd studio album 'A Different Kind of Fix' there's been hype suggesting that after their dabble in all things acoustic with their second album 'Flaws' in 2010, they're carrying on from where songs like 'Always Like This' from their debut left off.

At tonight's Cardiff show the crowd eagerly anticipate which band have turned up this evening. The audience is a mix of freshers in the student union setting and elder seasoned gig goers who sway with a drink in hand to the rather unusual selection of 'warm up' tracks played by the in house DJ - was that Mr Ouazzo I just heard?! But it soon becomes apparent that tonight is all about the electric, and the final "flourish" from the DJ comes in the form of Phat Man Scoop with 'Love Like This Before' which strangely the crowd enthusiastically sing along to, or maybe it's not so strange after all? We soon hear that all familiar piano loop from their first offering from 'A Different Kind of Fix' mixed into Scoop's outro and the band, accompanied by Lucy Rose, hit the stage to an upbeat and uplifting rendition of 'Shuffle'.

The energy that the band bring with an electric set is well and truly back, Singer Jack Steadman's fringe bounces amongst the, almost blinding, strobe lights and Guitarist Jamie MacColl encourages the audience to clap along, an enthusiasm that continues well into the set.

ImageBombay Bicycle Club treat the audience to powerful favourites like 'Dust on The Ground', as well as the maybe lesser known 'Open House' (a track from their Debut EP 'The Boy I Used to Be') which they play for the first time in a couple of years. Guitarist Jamie also announces that on this tour they are to play some tracks off of 'Flaws' for the first time in an electric set. 'Rinse Me Down' and 'Iron & Wine', are played consecutively before the band swiftly return to the electric with 'Evening/Morning'. However this brief trip to 'Flaws' blends in almost unnoticed with 'Iron and Wine''s drum intro seeming somewhat heavier mirroring that of the likes of 'Lamplight' and the audience loudly hum the song's melody.

The crowd are appreciative, and so it seems are the band, as they break into the intro of 'Lamplight' drummer Suren de Saram stops mid beat, and as the crowd look in wonder for a reason - broken stick, symbol, arm? He asks to speak to the crowd, who are succinctly informed that they have been amazing tonight and that it's been an absolute pleasure to play here - and so the song continues, met with a cheer. It seems that tonight we have been witness to one of the band's recently self confessed 'Stage Dares', and tonight was Suren's turn.

 The set finishes strong with arguably their most popular single 'Always Like This' to which the crowd chant "I'm not home" repeatedly until 'The Giantess' builds and builds from it's mellow beginnings to the bass heavy wall of sound and strobes to which the band exit the stage. At this point it's hard to think where an encore can go from here and you almost wish for them to not return to the stage, but to simply leave the audience wanting more. However, Jack returns on his own and plays a quiet piano only rendition of 'Still' which unfortunately is met with loud chatter from the crowd and some inappropriate hand shadow puppets on the large 'A Different Kind of Fix' art work that dawn the sides of the stage. This vulnerable offering is lost on an audience that's hype has built throughout the night. We are picked up once more with 'What If?' before their final exit.

Bombay Bicycle Club may only be of similar age to the many students that paid to watch them this evening, but have truly established themselves as a tight, enthusiastic and talented live act whatever their genre.

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