Bombay Bicycle Club: Not Quite BBC Heaven

I had a choice that night: Ellie Goulding or Bombay Bicycle Club. I chose the latter. I prefer the Commodore to Rogers arena, and indie alt-rock was more to my liking than straight pop music. And yet, I felt slightly let down by BBC (how awesome is it that a British band has the initials BBC?). Granted, most of the elements they had going Thursday night worked. A dark blue wash covered the stage for most of the show, they had a great opening, and frontman Jack Steadman was your typical, polite British boy.

The tunes were lovely as well. Most of them were uptempo and groovy and there were a few that were more meditative. Reminded mainly of a watered-down Decembrists concert. And yet, even with all these elements in place, when recapping the show to friends and colleagues I simply said “meh”. I can’t even necessarily put my finger on what the missing ingredient was.

At a couple of a points in the night it felt like they were slightly off key. Yet this was overshadowed by their innate storytelling ability, as well as their succulent and smooth harmonies. Towards the end of the show, everyone on stage sang in a cappella harmony – except Steadman, who was perfectly content to let his mates have the spotlight for a minute or two. That bit was particularly hauntingly beautiful. There was also something present that one doesn’t often get to see at a rock show: a good ol’ fashioned bass solo. Ed Nash killed it. Suren de Saram started off a couple of tracks with epic drum solos. These guys are definitely talented and know how to create great music.

So then why did the show feel so “blah” to me? Perhaps it was my mood and general attitude prior to my going to the show. Even while at the show I was still over-analyzing an email I had received from my (potentially ex) friend who had requested that I put an end to our exchanges and religious debates. Perhaps the fact that it was sudden, if not wholly unexpected, is what got to me, and perhaps that carried over when I set my shoes on Granville Street’s legendary dance floor. At any rate, a great music show is supposed to lift you from a bad mood and, in some cases, into an altered state of consciousness. While I recognize that Bombay Bicycle Club is not the MindFuck-type band (although, like Commodore show, the green stuff made its away around), and while I do know that I was moved during specific songs, I did feel any different at the show’s end, and did not attain that great post-show buzz that can often make its way into the brain after a good time. The show and the band were by no means terrible, but overall, it was only an above-average show.

Bombay Bicycle Club released their 4th album So Long, See You Tomorrow on February 3rd, 2014

RIYL: The Decembrists, Stornoway


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