It’s been over five years since the majestic talents of Bombay Bicycle Club graced the streets of Manchester with their presence, which, given that they celebrated the 10th anniversary of their debut record just last year and have released four albums since, is some wait!
After a brief hiatus and a number of solo efforts following the release of the hugely-successful So Long, See You Tomorrow in 2014, Jack Steadman, Ed Nash, Jamie MacColl and Suren de Saram regrouped in early 2019 to begin writing and ultimately recording a new album. Tonight was therefore a celebration – not only of the release of Everything Else Has Gone Wrong, but the highly-anticipated return of one of the finest groups in the business – and what a celebration it was.
Following the support acts of Liz Lawrence and the wonderful Big Moon – both of which we sadly missed due to the utterly ludicrous queuing system of the O2 Victoria Warehouse (a venue that whilst excellent internally, takes ages to get to, and then actually into), the Bombay gang took to the stage to rapturous applause before heading into the glorious ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’. This was the first track of a flawless 21-song setlist, and it was immediately clear that the crowd were bang up for it – something that had not gone unnoticed by frontman Steadman.
As has become custom, the four-piece were joined by a female voice on stage, with the wonderfully-talented Liz Lawrence following the likes of Rae Morris and long-term collaborator Lucy Rose as back-up vocals to Steadman. Lawrence effortlessly stepped up to the plate, delivering flawless harmonies to the likes of ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’, ‘Home By Now’, ‘Overdone’ and new track ‘I Can Hardly Speak’, one of several new tracks performed on the night, receiving much-deserved appreciation.
It was however, inevitable that the loudest of reactions came with the bounciest of tracks – the floor creaked as the Manchester masses danced to their max to the sumptuous ‘Shuffle’, whilst crowd-singalongs peaked as the opportunity came to belt out the chorus to ‘Luna’. And, as the night closed in with final track ‘Always Like This’, there was another collective dance-off as a sea of Mancunians threw all manner of shapes in this final celebration of the evening.
Bombay Bicycle Club have always had the fortune of being able to deliver mighty-fine setlists, but with each new record comes the tough decision to pick and choose the right tracks for each performance. Luckily, Manchester were treated to a flawless array of songs that weaved through the entire back catalogue, taking us 30-somethings back to the trouble-free days of the late 2000’s, whilst equally ensuring that the new tracks be given the full-works, making them sound even better live than on the record.
With the addition of a brilliant brass ensemble, Liz Lawrence’s superb vocals and a glorious light-show, it was once again a performance that will stick in the memory for some time to come. Let’s just hope that it’s not another 5 years before the Bombay boys are back in town.