Bombay Bicycle Club Bring Absolute Euphoria to O2 Academy

Everything Else Has Gone Wrong declare Bombay Bicycle Club. Frontman Jack Steadman explains to a spellbound crowd partway through their return to Leeds how their latest album is essentially an ode to how so many of us reach to music when everything else goes to shit. A Saturday night spent with the beloved indie-rockers is the perfect example of this in action; Bombay Bicycle Club invite you to leave your troubles at the door and dance the night away with them instead.

With Liz Lawrence and The Big Moon opening for the band, there’s no escaping the raw talent lurking within O2 Academy’s hallowed walls that night. Fresh from the release of their sophomore album, Walking Like We Do, The Big Moon have made an impressive return: debut album Love in the 4th Dimension may have been difficult to follow up, but their set showed them better than ever. ‘It’s Easy Then’ showcases exactly what The Big Moon do best – simultaneously soothing and soaring, their gorgeous lyrics weave you firmly into their web. The band’s harmonies shine on ‘Your Light’, and a smattering of songs from their debut charm the crowd even further – ‘Cupid’ encourages you to don your dancing shoes and shows that even the headliners of the night have a hard act to follow.

Of course, however, Bombay Bicycle Club did not disappoint. Set against a backdrop of flashing squares and swirling kaleidoscopic lights, the opening notes of ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’ saw the crowd immediately electrified – perhaps because the song is arguably one of the best the band have released, perhaps because of the long hiatus since Leeds saw them last. Nevertheless, this is Bombay Bicycle Club at their best – euphoric and shatteringly romantic, they sing about complete infatuation and only seem to infatuate the crowd further.

A sparkling whistle-stop tour of the best hits across four albums, Bombay Bicycle Club completely shine on songs like ‘Your Eyes’ – with the help of Liz Lawrence’s return to the stage to provide vocals, percussion and everything in between, there is undoubtedly the mark of a band with everything completely polished. Steadman’s vocals are inimitably light and whimsical; in the midst of an abundance of landfill indie rock, they have always set Bombay Bicycle Club apart, and in this setting they are completely magical.  The return to debut album I Had The Blues, But I Shook Them Loose injects the evening with a glorious nostalgia – ‘Cancel on Me’ is nothing short of stunning.

Accompanied by a phenomenal brass trio, the entire crowd doesn’t seem able to stop grooving along to ‘Feel’, which perhaps best epitomises the band’s unique exploration across genres. It encapsulates Bombay Bicycle Club completely, but the crowd favourite of the evening is undoubtedly the cult classic ‘Always Like This’. O2 Academy seems to become otherworldly for a few moments as the crowd unite one last time to clap and dance along, seemingly all wishing that Saturday nights were indeed, always like this.

All photos by Clare Redman.