Students Union, Cardiff
Fri 14 Oct
words: AMY PAY photos: EMMA LEWIS
Considering how changeable Bombay Bicycle Club sound on their three studio albums, the London indie-folkers played a fluid set at Cardiff’s sweaty Students Union. Launching straight into recent stuff, the playful honkytonk intro of Shuffle set the crowd mooching, something which continued for the rest of the night. Following with another new track, Your Eyes, the band sounded jolly with their summery festival vibes. Throughout their 21 song set they flaunted most of the tracks on A Different Kind Of Fix. Leave It ticked along with its egg-timer-like drums, Bad Timing whirred in a spiralling indie/ synth/ krautrock delirium and Beggars, with singer Jack Steadman owning centre stage, held a woody acoustic resonance.
Only three songs were played from Flaws, all of which were previous singles. Amidst the edgier, distorted songs from their first album and the cheery, chilled fresh sounds, Rinse Me Down and Ivy And Gold seemed precious and fragile. They weren’t out of place, though, because a subtle easiness was omnipresent thanks to ethereal harmonies between the band members’ vocals and a female backing singer. This partnership really shone in Still, a drowsy elongated hypnosis. There were plenty of opportunities for the crowd to get in on the action, too. Open House, an old track, singled out the band’s earliest fans while repeated chants of “I am ready to owe you anything” defied the heavy bass line of single Evening/ Morning with little problem.
Emergency Contraceptive Blues, the blinding first track from 2009’s ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’, was fused onto the end of The Giantess before a brief encore. It made an interesting change to hear a band play two album tracks to round off the night rather than radio regulars, almost as interesting as the stage décor. Flashing strobes dazzled your eyes into checking out the clutter that included caged light bulbs hung from the rigging and a tall, yellowed fan looming over an ancient piano. Whether an old fan, new fan or a fan of motorized fans, Bombay Bicycle Club made sure that they didn’t let you down by doing what they do best, that is, mixing up the ordinary and averting the expected.