REVIEW: Bombay Bicycle Club at Oxford Academy

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I FIRST went to a Bombay Bicycle Club gig in 2009 after the release of their first album I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose, writes David Moth.

They packed out Koko in Camden with rowdy teenagers, which was unsurprising as it was a bit of a homecoming gig for the Crouch End band.

The crowd at the O2 Academy Oxford was far more diverse, with devoted teens crammed in at the front ready to go wild and older fans loitering round the edges of the sold out venue.

That BBC attract such a range of ages is testament both to their talent as musicians and also their decision to follow their own creative path rather than get moulded into a just another generic indie band by their record label.

It is a brave choice but it appears to be paying dividends.

Touring on the back of their third album, A Different Kind Of Fix, BBC have made solid progress rather than a meteoric rise – playing steadily bigger venues and getting rewarded with higher profile festival slots – which hopefully means they are less likely to come crashing back down to earth any time soon.

The crowd in Oxford certainly appreciate BBC, and the place erupts when they kick of their set with Shuffle followed by Your Eyes.

Frontman Jack Steadman’s unique voice is a large part of BBC’s appeal, but you can’t help but feel that in the relatively intimate confines of the Oxford Academy he should interact with his adoring audience.

But he doesn’t, and the group are clearly enjoying themselves as they tear through songs off all three albums, including an acoustic interlude midway through the set with a few mellow tunes from second album Flaws.

The set showcases their ability to mix up folky acoustic numbers with heavier rock tunes, and unsurprisingly it is the latter which really get the crowd going.

Legs go flying in the air and the fans near the stage fling themselves about to tunes that I previously didn’t think you could mosh to.

BBC finish with Always Like This, The Giantess and Emergency Contraception Blues - all tracks from their debut album - to a rapturous reception, before Steadman returns to the stage for a solo rendition of Still.

It’s a nice moment, but perhaps slightly ill-judged after their upbeat finish and a few less-dedicated fans use it as an excuse to beat the queue in the car park.

Thankfully the other band members return to the stage and the gig finishes on a high with What If.

BBC continue their tour around the UK, culminating with a sold out gig at the Brixton Academy, before they jet off for a mini world tour which includes gigs in Brazil and Germany.

You feel the band have earned their success, and if they keep turning out quality albums and putting on great live shows then it won’t be long before they are too big to play venues like the Oxford Academy.