KCLSU, London, Monday, April 13
k, they’re young,” squeals the shocked woman standing behind NME as the four fresh-faced teens who make up north London’s Bombay Bicycle Club trundle onstage, clad in big grins and baggy T-shirts. Yet despite their relative youth, they’re practically elder statesmen of the London indie scene. They opened V Festival in 2006, sending crowds and critics swooning over their noir-ish guitar pop. Now, three years later, they’re ready for far bigger things than merely opening massive summer festivals – not least because last year they actually finished school and finally began recording their debut album, ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’, which is due out this July.
Shooting straight into the karate chop-pop of ‘Evening/Morning’, which melds the frenetic, harmonious punk of the Buzzcocks with the doomy ardour of Interpol, what strikes you first is not their undeniably magic way with a melody, but frontman Jack Steadman’s vocals; a deep, velvety baritone which oddly oozes out of the body of a Skins character. His unfaltering bellow continues to charm on ‘Magnet’, languidly layering over orchestral indie that flits between heartwarming good times and soul-shuddering intensity. Sure, ‘Dust On The Ground’ might be more New York 2002 than Northwest London 2009, but that’s probably for the best. The sound of posh vegan children-of-The-Guardian doesn’t appeal half as much as the commanding new wave-y soundtrack to Jack’s frenetic, juddering dance moves.
Though the band have impressed tonight, the excitable all-ages audience have done even better, proving wrong those who insist that London gig-goers just aren’t as enthusiastic as punters found in front rows across the rest of the UK. These guys are so eager that they’re even singing along to the guitar riffs on ‘Ghost’ and ‘Open House’ as
well as having a bash at the drums on encore ‘The Hill’. The future’s safe – not just in the hands of Bombay Bicycle Club, but in the outstretched arms of their fans.