“To say religious experience would understate it” Elbow’s Guy Garvey (Fan Club President) says, “A life peak” Rick Edwards tells us. Always the jovial band, Bombay Bicycle Club have made a spoof of some famous fans (and future Prime Ministers) talking about their (by then infamous) Earls Court gig in 2039. Played to the crowd just before the gig, it’s funny and heart-warming and shows that the band isn’t letting the pressure of closing Earls Court forever weight them down.
77 years ago one of London’s most iconic venues, Earls Court, opened its doors. In its time it’s seen some of the world’s greatest performers take to the stage: from Pink Floyd, Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Oasis and Morrissey to Queen and Elton John- and now Bombay Bicycle Club. As the last show to ever take place at Earls Court there was a certain amount of pressure on the band to create something spectacular and memorable befitting a proper send off for the iconic venue.
Perhaps the pressure daunts even more when Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour takes to the stage, for the reportedly 27th time, to perform a beautiful rendition of ‘Wish You Were Here’. Gilmour is a family friend of bassist Jamie MacColl. He proudly tells the crowd “This man gave me my first guitar” before they perform folkier track ‘Rinse Me Down’ with the Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist. Prior to ‘Wish you were here’ the atmosphere is admittedly a little dull, with tracks like ‘Shuffle’ and ‘Overdone’ keeping the crowd bopping. But the unexpected Pink Floyd tribute marked a climactic turning point and sparked up the jubilant, young crowd.
One thing that Bombay Bicycle Club are perfectionists at are seamless transitions. Despite having reinvented themselves four times and creating four completely ranging albums, they find a way to tie it all together in live performances. The use of a sprawling brass section, psychedelic undertones and nail-biting guitar solos allow them to move from ‘Flaws’ folk tracks like ‘Ivy & Gold’ to debut album, riff-heavy tracks like ‘Dust On The Ground’. It’s an eclectic mix of music that comes to a head at psychedelic Bollywood track ‘Feel’ and poppy ‘Luna’ with its ethereal vocals from Rae Morris. It shows the happy-go-lucky band at their peak and gets a young and frivolous crowd joyfully moshing. The finale sees 20,000 people screaming the lyrics to the band’s dance anthem ‘Carry Me’ right back at overjoyed frontman Jack Steadman. It marks the end of a playful gig and makes the Earls Court roof blow just one last time.
Will Bombay Bicycle Club go down in Earls Court history next to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin? Probably not. Will it go down in history for this Crouch- End Indie band? Most definitely and rightly so; a fitting ending to an amazing year for a great, free-spirited band who deserve all the success in the world.
PICTURE: NICK PICKLES / GETTY