Review: Bombay Bicycle Club – The Albert Hall, Manchester

20140321_223718(0)

Four albums in and Bombay Bicycle Club are flying ahead of the pack. Five years ago, when they released their debut record I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loosethe UK stages were rife with indie acts, trying to produce the same magic that many of them did with their debuts in the early 00’s, but often failing to do so.

BBC received a heap of praise for I Had The Blues, and rightly so. But it was the follow-up, in the form of Flaws, that proved their extraordinary talent. Where many of the aforementioned indie acts disappeared into the mist of ‘second-album-syndrome’, Bombay Bicycle Club developed their sound, without running too far from the path, not only taking on a whole bunch of new fans, but keeping their long-term followers as well. Since Flaws, they have continued to use these skills to create two further records of equal brilliance, and don’t seem like stopping any time soon.

On Friday, the band were set to headline Manchester’s sold-out Albert Hall for a second consecutive night, and it just proves that Bombay Bicycle Club continue to reach out to more and more music fans with each album.

Taking to the stage of this incredibly beautiful venue prior to the headliners, were the excellent Flyte and local lass and TFFT fave, Rae Morris. The latter blew us away in particular, and we don’t doubt for a second that Rae could easily sell out an Albert Hall show of her own soon enough.

One thing can be said for The Albert Hall’s stunning architecture and layout, but another can also be said for the Trof team behind the venue. Bombay Bicycle Club would have brilliant playing in a school canteen, in a jobcentre or in a shed, but the addition of the breathtaking lights as well as BBC’s own graphics, made this one of the finest shows I have witnessed in a longtime.

The band were accompanied by the supremely talented Liz Lawrence, who filled in for the likes of Rae Morris and contributor Lucy Rose, who feature regularly throughout the past couple of BBC albums. Jack Steaman and co. opened with two tracks from the new record – So Long, See You Tomorrow, which were greeted with a tremendous roar. Credit certainly has to be given where it’s due, and for a crowd to react so strongly to two non-single tracks from a newly-released album, is concrete proof that Bombay Bicycle Club are wonderful at what they do.

The tremendously bouncy Shuffle took the crowd into a frenzy – a song sure to put a grin on the moodiest of grumps – before first-album tracks Lamplight and Evening/Morning shortly followed, recieving two of the loudest cheers of the night and illustrating that the crowd was a mixed bag of longtime and brand new fans.

Throughout all of this, the audience were treated to some stunning graphics, most notably during a performance of BBC’s simply wonderful new single Feel. With an obvious Bollywood theme to the track, the lights flickered with deep reds and oranges, whilst cobras, birds of prey and peace lilys seemed to dart of the walls – an incredible spectacle.

Prior to the expected encore after a run of sixteen fantastic and carefully picked tracks, Bombay Bicycle Club were joined on stage by support and album-collaborator Rae Morris, for a wonderful performance of new-album single Luna. The London band certainly know how to pick the right people to feature on their records, and Rae adds another dimension to this awesome song.

Bringing the show, and the UK tour, to a triumphant end, were What If, a feature of I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose, and new track Carry Me. Every single one of BBC’s performances were as good as the last and we can imagine the same can be said for each show on the tour. Words cannot describe how much we are looking forward to the return of this extraordinary act, that continue to blow the rest out of the water.