Bombay Bicycle Club @ De Montfort Hall, Leicester 25/04/2012
May 2, 2012 by Joe Woods
Rae Morris was the first act to embark on stage, and straight from the off she dazzled the crowd with her wistful, compelling tones which were nothing short of heart melting. The slightly shabby and outdated De Montfort Hall didn’t really seem like an appropriate place for such talent, as the most excitement the venue usually saw was a depressing set from a withering Engelbert Humperdinck. But the grandiose surroundings only added to epic nature of the performance, as Rae’s voice managed to reach out and fill every nook and cranny of the venue, as she played songs from her debut ep ‘For You’.
Despite only performing onstage with nothing more than a piano for company, her stage presence was incredible. She brought a wave of silence to the crowd, who only dared to break the magical atmosphere once the song was finished with their rapturous applause. As every member of the audience couldn’t help but gawp and appreciate the fine spectacle they were being exposed to.
After touring rigorously with the likes of Noah and the Whale and Bombay Bicycle Club, you would think that Rae Morris would have run out of steam by now wouldn’t you? But quite the opposite, with numerous festivals booked and her own headline tour booked for September, you would certainly count yourself as being very lucky to catch her at one of these dates on the strength of tonight’s performance. Having already perfected her style at the tender age of nineteen, the future is definitely looking bright for a certain Blackpool songstress.
When second support act Lianne La Havas entered onstage, one thing became clear, that there was not going to be any let up from the emotional battering the crowd would receive tonight. As the second solo front woman act of the night dominated the stage, but this time only with a guitar for company… this was until after a few songs into the set, a sleek all male band joined her, which completely transformed her sound from being that a wailing siren to catchy, groove induced ‘pop’ with its shuffling drums and laid back basslines.
There was also a moment in between songs that made many an older man hot under the collar, when Lianne cheekily declared, “this song is a true story, its about older men!” as she went on to sing “is it a problem he’s old? As long as he does what he is told”, Victor Meldrew watch your back! Despite this fine performance, it just seemed quite mellow and tame in comparison to the crooning masterclass given by Rae Morris who definitely came out on top in the support act stakes.
Having already seen two fashionistas perform this evening, Bombay Bicycle Club couldn’t of really been more different, with the somewhat geeky owl-rimmed spectacles of Jack Steadman and the overgrown mullet of bassist Ed Nash, although you sense that many a teenage boy will try to emanate their style, as they are fashion icons in their own right.
Lucy Rose, who is now a fully fledged artist in her own right, backed up Mr Steadmans vocals to make them sound even more luscious than usual, (like they even needed it!). She even lent a hand on guitar duties, teaming up with lead guitarist Jamie Macoll, which significantly bolstered the ever-impressive guitar work of Bombay Bicycle Club.
Never have the words “No never can it be” sounded so joyous, usually reserved for dispatched lovers, the enigmatic Jack Steadman brings the meaning into a glorious new light tonight in ‘Bad Timing’. Old songs such as ‘Dust on the Ground’ were sounding as fresh and relevant as ever, considering that they’ve been out for a good few years already. Proving that Bombay have a knack for longevity, which will hopefully see them to the title of best British guitar band in the forthcoming years. Some of the highlights included; ‘Evening/Morning’ which contains a wonderfully chugging bass line and Jack Steadman fondly pronounces, “I am ready to owe you anything.” No need, this delightful gig you’ve put on tonight is more than enough thank you!
One thing of particular interest of none musical matters was the huge illuminated star behind Bombay, the shining beacon lit up the venue and was only outshone by the band themselves. It could of proved to be a major distraction if not for the engrossing range of material, as the band whipped out their acoustic guitars and inner folk gods to play a few songs from ‘Flaws’ the acoustic noodles of ‘Ivy and Gold’ whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and there was an unexpected drum solo halfway into the song by Suren De Suram, which despite being rather self-indulgent, was incredibly impressive.
Having had the pleasure of seeing the band six times now, I can honestly say that I was not disappointed, and as the last notes of ‘What If’ were allowed to ring out, one thing became crystal clear, Leicester would probably not witness a fine show like this again for some time to come.