One of the bands at the forefront of last year’s new underage scene, Bombay Bicycle Club, were quick to make their mark in the summer when they stormed the Underage and Reading festivals.
Furthermore, their EP How WeAre, released on their own Mmm…label, reached No 2 in the indie singles chart, behind Super Furry Animals. This afternoon the four-piece play the Artrocker Saturdays All Ages series and anticipation hangs in the air of the packed venue.
Young they may be, but Bombay Bicycle Club certainly know rock ’n’ roll style. Half an hour late, they arrive without their guitarist Jamie MacColl who has gone awol.
Despite being one guitarist short they masterfully build up their opening song “Maybe More” from singer Jack Steadman’s angular Television-style guitar to vigorous strumming, increasing its intensity. A true star in the making, 17-year-old Steadman judders as he sings the catchy refrain “Will you decide to/Put this behind you”, a touch of the tremor of Patrick Wolf or Conor Oberst in his voice. A sheepish ginger curly-haired MacColl takes to the stage at the end of the song, and the crowd cheer.
Live, the band bring immeasurable zestful energy to their catchy riffs bringing to life their Strokes influence on “Open House” and “How Are You” which really gets the crowd moving. But “Ghost” is the best showcase of their immensely precocious talent, integrating an astoundingly captivating bassline with Steadman’s emotive singing, the drummer’s characteristic rolling beats, and changing time signatures. When the luminescent guitar solo develops into a rhythmic danceable guitar riff interacting with the beats, they soar well above the rest.