If you go out to a 14+ gig today, you’re sure of a big surprise. If you go out to a gig today, you’d better go in disguise (white berets are where it’s at, peeps). For every kid that ever there was, will gather there for certain, because, today’s the day the 14+ have their post-mix-pop-fuelled sugar-rushed amateur crowd-surfing with vertical-face-plants-into-the-sweaty-morass * riotous mayhem!
Catching the end of Bombay Bicycle Club’s set at a London Union gig in last December, we were wowed by the band’s original vocals, tight playing and killer hooks. So on learning the 16-17 year old North Londoners had only been together since the previous year, we hustled along to their first EP launch. And we haven't laughed so much at a gig and its goers, or been told off so repeatedly for doing nothing wrong, since, well, we were as young as the band. Tickings-off came at us every which way including, finally, from the band’s charismatic vocalist, Jack Steadman. Though Jack had reason to be concerned, what with everyone getting a bit lairy and knocking over the equipment.
Opener, “Open House”, went down big as the boys showed off their well-developed musicianship, marred only by finding the mosh had put the kibosh on a mic. Sorting this out, Jack went slightly shoegazy in posture until “Slow Song”, that wasn’t, instead underpinned by solid four-to-the-floor beats from talented drummer, Suren de Saram.
On into a sumptuous version of “Sixteen”, the band’s best-arranged song to date, with a guitar melody shimmering with sunshine and promise. Jack’s impassioned vibrato vocals revealed undertones of the Violent Femmes, while Ed Nash looked suitably louche for a bassist-keyboardist and Jamie MacColl’s guitar wove it all together with silk chords. “Maybe More” and the crowd-pleaser and pseudo finale, “The Hill”, were followed up by a shout-out to Goldilocks and a slightly blurry “Cancel on Me”.
Buoyed by the hi-jinks and retro hand-clapping games going down in the crowd, at times the band’s perfectionism was forgotten as they abandoned themselves to the frenzy, and so they ought. If this seriously promising posse keep developing their original sound, the mayhem may just infect us all.
Bombay Bicycle Club’s first EP, The Boy I Used to Be is out now. And make sure you check back next week for an interview with the band.
Words by Emilicon Ashton