Tuesday 20 February 2024

Live Review: Bombay Bicycle Club - Cardiff Students' Union, 18 February 2024

Live Review: Bombay Bicycle Club - Cardiff Students' Union, 18 February 2024

There was a real unnerving period following the release of 2014's So Long, See You Tomorrow, with the band announcing an indefinite hiatus with Jack Steadman citing "after ten years of doing this we thought it was time for all of us to try something else". A dark and cold 3 years followed. But thankfully, in 2019 they broke silence and announced they were finally back recording in the studio with an album to follow, and it's safe to say, they haven't looked back since. 

Following the impressive Everything Else Has Gone Wrong LP which saw them pick up exactly where they left off, the band returned in 2023 with My Big Day, their sixth studio album. A real celebratory affair, and a record which hands down has had the best promotional campaign by any band I've seen thus far, has propelled them back in to the centre running of indie-rock stalwarts.

Without further to do, Bombay Bicycle Club were determined to go out with a bang on the last night of their UK tour as they rolled in to Cardiff's sold-out Students' Union for a show of epic proportions.

First on the bill to get things warmed up was North London five-piece KAWALA. Having recently shared their new single American Adrenaline to much acclaim, the band's energetic and vibrant demeanour was an instant party starter amongst the bustling crowd. The band are quite clearly having the time of their lives on tour and this showed in their performance as they rattled through their jangly guitar hits. Centred around the core duo of singer Jim Higson and guitarist/singer Daniel McCarthy (the Welsh scarf is a nice touch that doesn't go unnoticed), the band's tight percussion and funky basslines came together to give fans some much needed sun-kissed energy. It's safe to say they're a name you will be hearing a lot more from in the coming months. 

It's true what they say. Time really does fly when you're having fun. A short wait and as the lights dimmed, Jack Steadman emerged wielding two confetti cannons that he launched in to the crowd to efferent cheer as the band dived straight in to "Just a Little More Time", its hip hop-inspired beat and catchy guitar riffs were quick to get the crowd moving. 

As a frontman his charismatic presence is a joy to watch as he commanded the stage, effortlessly transitioning from soulful croons to electrifying bursts of energy, captivating the audience with every note whilst he bounced up and down.

In a true testament to their musicianship, no two night's are alike on this tour, and as the mosh pits finally died down following a rapturous performance of "Eat, Sleep, Wake, Nothing But You", Steadman is quick to pick up on the energy and is amped on to give fans a surprise addition of What If.

"We wanted to play something from every album" he later exclaimed, so as the band walked off he was joined by backing singer and musician Olive Jones for an intimate performance of Flaws. Beautifully delivered in mesmerising fashion, the pair's vocals and intricate guitar plucked notes showed further dynamics to their captivating sound.

Throughout, the band delivered electrifying renditions of tracks, each song brought to life with an infectious energy that ignited the crowd. From the anthemic choruses and undeniably recognisable piano keys of "Shuffle" to the dreamy melodies of "Meditate," every moment is infused with a sense of urgency and passion that resonates deeply with fans.

Considering this was the last night of a mammoth touring period the band showed absolutely no signs of fatigue. It's a word simply not in their vocabulary as they set about cranking the carnival atmosphere up to 11.With trumpet solos, duo percussion and flashing lights, this was a fiesta like no other. 

But sadly all good things must come to an end. As the night drew to a close and the final notes of "Always Like This" rang out into the darkness - the added brass section an extra delight, there was a sense of exhilaration and fulfilment that lingered in the air. Bombay Bicycle Club has once again proven why they are a force to be reckoned with in the world of indie rock, delivering a performance that was equal parts exhilarating, transcendent, and unforgettable. This is a band atop of their game. And they're relishing in every moment of it. It's rightly deserved.

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