Bombay Bicycle Club
When an artist plays a melody whether simple, strange, or complex, the listener knows that it’s supposed to be there, and that’s what everyone felt Friday night at the Middle East downstairs. Tonight’s performance was the second to last show of the Bombay Bicycle Club tour, but lead singer Jack Steadman reassured the eccentric audience that they would be back, (hopefully at a more suitable venue to accommodate their growing fan base).
The indie rock group based out of Crouch End, London, features guitarist and lead singer Jack Steadman, lead guitarist MacColl, bassist Ed Nash, and drummer Suren de Saram. Their performance consisted of songs off of their latest 2011 album A Different Kind of Fix, which is as the title suggests, a different kind of fix than their previously recorded albums. Where this album encompasses an ambient, groove centered, harmonic beast, 2010s acoustic release Flaws features folk, blues, and country driven ballads with two covers plausible to an intuitive coffee shop crowd. The 2009 debut album I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose, also provides a different listening experience featuring indie-pop rock driven drum tracks with careful attention given to low-fidelity guitar sounds and heavy west coast sounding reverbs.
The set began with the lead single “Shuffle,” off the new album, stirring a frenzy of sensuous, dance worthy, ambiances. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more, the band’s delivery of this song, or the crowd’s allurement to it. The sold-out crowd was left helpless to dance with minimal space to the group’s extravagantly harmonic, politely groovacious arrangements. The Cambridge crowd consisting of hipsters and indie rock enthusiasts of all ages was proof enough that good music, when comprised with the right elements of honest lyricism, vivacious grooves, and persuasive melody backed with angelic harmonies, has the power to appeal to a wide receptive audience of listeners.
The first opener for BBC, singer, songwriter Lucy Rose accompanied the group on back up vocals for several of their tunes where it was needed. On songs like Leave It, you would find her grooving alongside drummer Suram’s kit hitting a crash cymbal while providing harmonic support to Steadman’s tales of heartbreak and recovery. The chemistry established between these two performers was truly harmonious and leaves one to wonder whether or not there will be a future collaboration or perhaps even a permanent position for Rose in the band.
The first tune that was played during the much-deserved encore was “Lights Out, Words Gone,” another lead single off the new album that is comparable to “Shuffle,” in terms of the epic arrangement of layered guitars, synthesizers, and piano tracks. It was only appropriate to start and end with these two favorites that fans came to hear. The lyrics “When the light is out and the words have gone, let me be the one to try it on,” seemed like a suggestion to listeners to procure something of their own from the performance when the lights have gone and the words have been sung.