As the filler songs played between sets faded into the white noise of the opening to “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep,” the four men who create London’s Bombay Bicycle Club quietly made their way out to The Crocodile’s stage to play their first show ever in Seattle.
Each band member shared smiles as fans who they never knew existed prior sang lyrics in their entirety off their opening three songs, which all appear on their latest album, A Different Kind of Fix. Front man Jack Steadman and guitarist Jamie MacColl both stopped for a moment a few songs in to apologize for taking so long to make their way to the west coast for a tour, and at that time thanked everyone for buying the tickets to make it possible. Steadman, though center stage, was lacking of all arrogance and for the most part, sang with an almost blushing gin across his face and closed eyes during the performance, suggestive of just how surprised and appreciative he was of the unaware fan base they had unleashed in Seattle.
Ed Nash on bass was quietest in presence to the left corner of the stage, though he swung his chocolate locks intensely as he helped set the tempo for Bombay Bicycle Club’s songs. Helping him with this was Suren de Saram along the backside of the stage, who was given a few solos to demonstrate his aggressive talents on the drums. To everyone’s delight, Lucy Rose, who had previously opened that night, was back to sing along on many tracks she has recorded with Bombay Bicycle Club, including “Leave It” and “Beggars”.
About half way through Bombay Bicycle Club’s performance, a large group of intoxicated “dance party” starters interrupted attention from other concertgoers. When Jack Steadman brought out his acoustic guitar for a singular song, the dancers paid him no respect. By yelling over his sincere and downplayed vocals for this acoustic break in the set, it made for an uncomfortable setting for the rest of us – but Steadman carried on and finished respectively. After jumping back into their electric renditions, Bombay Bicycle Club wrapped their show with a few of their amplified songs like “Lamplight,” “What You Want” and “Magnet,” which brought the groove they had originally gained back to the forefront. While many of Bombay Bicycle Club’s lyrics are about love or relationships, the notework and punch that complement and offset those lyrics makes for an exciting live show, which I am sure many of us were suspicious could be achieved when their tunes were translated live.
A genuinely heartfelt goodbye was spoken by Steadman who said this show had actually been the most fun of the tour so far for him personally, followed by his comment on how much he enjoyed the group of dancers that disrupted the set earlier in the night. This is directly reflective of the positivity that Bombay Bicycle’s music brings to life as well; the context of each song of theirs may not be satisfactory, but their music still makes you feel good, and it feels even better to get on your feet to. Mixing the upbeat and positive energy resonating off of Bombay Bicycle Club on stage with their perfectly executed live performance resulted in a superior experience that couldn’t have been beat for an introductory performance. As they were prompted by everyone for an encore, the first single from A Different Kind of Fix, “Shuffle” was played, followed by “What If,” which shockingly even brought a stage crasher and diver onto the stage with them. A chuckle was shared by the band who obviously were taken aback by the display themselves and they bid Seattle a happy farewell shortly after. Though your experience differed depending on where you were located in the crowd, one thing was certain, Bombay Bicycle Club put on a brilliantly fun show despite circumstances they couldn’t control, and Seattle seems to have amused the British locals as well, so hopefully we’ll see them back again relatively soon.
1. How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep
2. Your Eyes
3. Bad Timing
4. Open House
5. Dust On The Ground
6. Leave It
7. Take The Right One
8. Lights Out, Words Gone
9. Rinse Me Down
10. Ivy and Gold
12. Cancel On Me
16. Always Like This
17. What You Want
19. What If
“How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep”:
Second act The Darcys from Ontario were feral compared to the delicacy of Lucy Rose’s opening set. Front man Jason Couse controlled the stage where he was constantly moving; sometimes he was yelling into his microphone, others times he was playing keys, guitar, messing with his pedals, or just dancing amongst himself. His presence was pleasant to feed off of as his energy felt true and not over played, but instead Avant Garde, like The Darcys’ music. His counterparts were all enthralled equally as drums were set the far left of the stage, prominently displayed for everyone to see the pace work brought by Wes Marskell while backing vocals and organ were intently handled by Mike le Riche to the right. Bassist Dave Hurlow was almost completely un-engaging instead, focused on his part of the performance technically. Perhaps the most exciting piece to The Darcy’s performance was our uncertainty of what was expected. Most went into this show blind after seeing “And Guests” on the bill with Bombay Bicycle Club for weeks and weren’t quite expecting the noise and psychedelic of The Darcys’ set in between the indie pop band we were there to see and the darling deliveries of Lucy Rose. Unanimous agreement surfaced as audience members whispered about the The Darcys being a rebellious and unforeseen enjoyment.
When Lucy Rose pulled her stool up and adorned her acoustic guitar, many weren’t paying attention. The crowd was loud with conversation as her first notes rang out. Almost immediately thereafter, the atmosphere changed, as we all became smitten by the tiny blonde whose voice arrested our attention. For the next six-seven songs, the crowd continued to stay transfixed on this shocking opener, whom lends her vocals to many of the Bombay Bicycle Club songs we were waiting to here later in the night. Lucy Rose however has a gorgeous collection of solo work, which brings the subdued and longing familiar voice to the forefront. Her voice rings pleasantly like that of Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, only with less of an edge. Her vocals managed to saturate the depth of The Crocodile with ease, though she wasn’t singing ferociously loud, instead, the intensity was brought by her delivery and build up. Lucy Rose fulfills this special sound by incorporating unique tempo changes and vocal elements that kept us all in check. On her song “Red Face,” which when recorded has Rose playing drums, was instead finger picked on her guitar, and the emphasis she placed on particular strumming patterns acted where the drums normally would have. Applause was fierce for Rose as she ended each song, and specifically as she wrapped her charming set. The crowd all had a new favorite amongst female musicians, and it was bittersweet to see her leave the stage. Lucy Rose validates all reasons for attending a concert experience early; every once in a while, the gem of the night may be on stage first, with the shortest set.