Alexandra Palace, London, April 28
The notion of four of the most unassuming blokes in indie selling out a 10,000-capacity enorma-venue might seem a bit mental, but from the army of lads necking Jägerbombs to the girl squealing “I can’t even look at it!” at the Portaloo, right up to the dignified pensioner behind us, tonight’s broad crowd explains how they’ve done it.
Everyone loves Bombay. But while there’s a tangible sense of supportive energy in the air, the band are clearly aware that they’ve got lots of people to justify that love to. The London quartet are flanked on either side by the spliced heads that adorn the cover of ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’, with the tell-tale fuck-load of balloons hanging above (this is a Big Gig after all), and take to their hometown stage with the kind of wired energy that often pre-empts some serious upping of the game.
While early offerings ‘Your Eyes’ and ‘Dust On The Ground’ still twinkle with warm intimacy, tonight they also grow some serious balls. Guitars are thrashed, drums are assaulted and the boys – buoyed by vocalist Lucy Rose and live keyboardist Louis Bhose – throw themselves around the stage like someone’s shoved a rod up their collective behind. Yet despite all the shapes being cut, the feeling is still that of a bunch of old mates having a laugh. It’s hugely infectious, and a trait that means when the band switch things up for a mini acoustic meander through ‘Rinse Me Down’ and the
folky knees-up of ‘Ivy & Gold’, the energy remains at full pelt. Even the piano-led, stripped-back beauty of ‘Still’ feels super-charged.
The final moments are, of course, reserved for the bangers – a huge singalong of ‘Always Like This’, the surprisingly sultry swagger of ‘Beg’, the offbeat, jaunty scatter of ‘Shuffle’ – but it’s testament to the band’s organic rise, and the fact that they’ve got here via an unusual musical path of their own making, that these provide a mere cherry on the top of an already majestic cake. It’s left to ‘What If’ to close the show, and as the last guitar chops signal to a balloon-less finale, we realise the hanging fixture above was a cluster
of delicately glowing lightbulbs all along. It’s a much better fit.