Bombay Bicycle Club
October 10 2011
Bombay Bicycle Club’s third album, A Different Kind Of Fix, has been met with great praise from journalists, fans and new listeners alike. Following many festival appearances this year to record breaking crowds, it makes sense that the band head out on their biggest UK headline tour yet. Their previous tours have always provided something interesting for the attendees, whether it’s playing small venues packed to the rafters or setting out on a tour of churches and historic buildings, so it’s immediately interesting to know the material and set up they have for this tour, particularly as they have three such diverse sounding albums.
Opening act, Theme Park, were an unexpected surprise. Their single, “Wax” had been getting some airplay and a warm reception, but there isn’t an abundance of material to follow them up on, so there was an air of intrigue about the venue as they took to the stage. It’s safe to say that the band easily has a stock full of superb tunes and received love and applause from the crowd, which doubled in volume as each song finished. Managing to mix the sound of TV On The Radio with Morrissey and The Beach Boys whilst maintaining a raw and loose sound, they left the room wanting more, which for a relatively new and “unknown” (by comparison to the headliners) band is the biggest kind of compliment. I, for one, cannot wait to see what they record and release next.
Dry The River was the second support act and the floor was packed with a clearly devoted fan base. The band ran through their set for their adoring fans and sounded impeccable live. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t seem like the band has anything drastically new to offer and whilst they play extremely well and are clearly loved by many, I was left feeling like they provoked no reaction at all for me which may have been more noticeable after the exciting sound of Theme Park.
As soon as that piano loop from “Shuffle” fades in and the band walk on stage, the crowd erupts and as the new album’s lead single takes off, Bombay Bicycle Club immediately has the entire room in the palm of their hand. Jack Steadman’s vocals continue to improve and excel with each tour, each release and each moment. The entire band clearly enjoy playing live and whilst always displaying an astonishingly tight sound and air of confidence, flashes of humble and grateful smiles never cease to shine as they catch the crowd singing back every single word.
With 9 out of 20 songs on the setlist being from A Different Kind Of Fix, there is plenty of time for fan favourites such as “Evening/Morning”, “Open House” and even tracks from acoustic album Flaws such as “Ivy & Gold” and “Rinse Me Down”. Needless to say, this means that every fan in the room was spoiled, hearing a song from every period of the band’s life aired and played at full force. It’s a given that “Always Like This” will bring the house down (to enforce a cliché) and the volume of the audience as they sing back at the band is brilliantly deafening, but it’s the performance of "The Giantess/Emergency Contraception Blues" with a new angelic vocal interlude by Lucy Rose which ends up being truly mind-blowing. However, it's Steadman’s return to the stage with Lucy Rose to perform piano-led track “Still” which evokes the most noticeable reaction…silence. Impossible to not be drawn into the delicacies and vulnerability of the vocals and the song, everybody is left in awe.
Bombay Bicycle Club continue to prove why they are one of The UK’s best band’s around at the moment with their arsenal of songs which span genres, a flawless live show and an genuine love for their fans. This is a band who are only just entering their prime and should be taken notice of at any given opportunity.
It's been a while since I've posted a blog entry and I feel it's time I got more involved in doing so, especially becuase of the new version of AP probably helping the look and feel of them.
That being said I thought I'd talk about how there are certain vocalists who I am beyond jealous of. Their voices literally make me either melt with how perfect they are to my tastes or incredibly jealous that I don't have their tone and delivery. The minute I start thinking about favourite vocalists that are around today, I immediately think of the following:
Jack Steadman (Bombay Bicycle Club)
There's something about his broken delivery on various words or syllables mixed with his borederline baritone sound that makes me wish I had his voice. It lends itself perfectly to the rootsy folk-style of their album Flaws, to a point when Steadman's voice actually sounds "older" than he is. He sounds like a classic folk singer fm the '60s who hs been in the game for decades rather than a twentysomething London lad. On the flipside he is able to sing modern indie rock songs that sounds so fresh and are able to get crowds of hundreds or thousands chanting along with him.
It's his voice that brings a lot of the appeal to me because of how unique it sounds without being affected on purpose. I genuinely hold him as an inspiration vocally because I believe it's the quirks and individuality in vocals that can really make a band or artist that much more interesting. I'd rather lsiten to an artist with a unique voice that isn't pitch perfect than somebody who is so crisp and on point, because they can be thrown in the "forgettable pile" more often than not, for me.
Check out some examples of his vocals in different forms below. The Folk style of "Jewel" from their acoustic album Flaws and "What If" from their debut and "electric" album.
Orlando Weeks (The Maccabees)
This was going to be obvious choice but that's because I can't fault anything about this band. As an avid follower of them from before their debut album, I've loved every song they have released and adored seeing how the have progressed as band. The music has noteably moved forward and become something truly amazing (and continues to do so) but Orlando Weeks' vocals have just got better and better throughout the years. Starting out with an almost abrasive and confrontational spoken word style in their earlier post-punk influenced demos (and somewhat on their debut, Colour It In) he is now one of the strongest voices in British indie/rock music today.
Weeks possesses the ability to be a modern day crooner. Harmonising beautifully and demonstrating the softest tones both live and on record mixed with the urgency and big deliveries and long notes when necessary, it's hard for me to enjoy any other singer...ever (hyperbole, of course).
Listen to The Maccabees cover of Roy Orbison's "I Drove All Night" and the title track from their second album (my favourite record of all time too), "Wall Of Arms" below for perfect examples of all the gushing and fanboy adjectives I used above.
As I said, these are just a couple of singer's from the "now" who I adore, there is a plethora of others from many decades that I love, even more that are in bands nowadays that I enjoy, but these are the two that I always immediately think of from bands that are currently in existance.