It has been a year of returns and reunions for the London-based indie group Bombay Bicycle Club. First, 2019 began with the first surprising statement of their comeback after a three-year-long hiatus. Then, almost to the day, just a year later, their fifth album ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’ finally saw the light of day and the band blessed their dedicated fanbase with a range of phenomenal live shows. 2020 was supposed to be their year, filled with a headline tour and countless festival appearances. But then Corona came and put a halt to all of their plans.
Still, many months, and a few too many lockdowns later, here they are again, reunited and back where it all started for them – the legendary Konk Studios in London, where they recorded their debut album ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ in 2008 and 2009. It might not be the return they would have hoped to end the year with, but one concert is still better than none at all, which is something the group doesn’t hesitate to demonstrate to their excited watchers right from the get-go. Earlier this month, Bombay had already announced the release of the album’s exclusive live version, which was recorded during their 10th anniversary show at the famous O2 Academy Brixton last year.
With the city set to go back into another lockdown just a few hours after the streamed gig, you would have expected there to be a sort of a dark looming in the room, a shadow trailing the band member’s faces. But quite the opposite – the celebratory show for their debut album is nothing less than that, a celebration. A celebration of Bombay, their history, and live music in general. From start to finish, the show lights up the studio room like a bright star and is reflected in the collective proud smiles of the Londoner stars. They have come a long way since the release of ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’ and they use this gig to prove that they are exactly where they ought to be. And they have every right to because they have earned it.
With lead singer Jack Steadman’s striking vocals, a row of stunning, haunting beats, their famously addictive guitar riffs, and lyrics Bombay and indie fans alike know all too well, the one-hour long set feels both like a huge pack of nostalgia, but also the start of something new. Filmed by cinematographer Dave Tree, who shot the band’s debut music video for ‘Evening/Morning’, and all the videos from their Flaws LP, the group reunites with its past, while subsequently hinting at an upcoming new chapter and all the music they have been working on during the past few months.
Ultimately, the one-off livestream gig gives Bombay Bicycle Club fans, and us, everything we could have ever wished for. Intimate and grand at the same time, the show manages to remind everyone of the indie wonders’ utter magnetism. It’s the group’s final reunion after a year filled with chaos and destruction, and still, they manage to come out of it with a smile. Let’s just hope that 2021 will surprise us in a more positive way, and maybe even with the one or the other Bombay Bicycle Club concert – this time with an actual live crowd.
Written by Laura Weingrill // Photo credit: Danny North