Saturday, May 02, 2009

Easy Riders

Bombay Bicycle Club/Tantrums, The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham, Saturday April 18 2009, 8.45pm.

In the interests of fairness and accuracy we should report that we attended this gig after a steady day's drinking before and after attendance at the Hammers' valiant draw at Villa Park and thus witnessed the event through an attendant fug of post-match euphoria and stealthily enveloping stupour. So if you're looking for a detailed analysis of chord changes and other such muso musings this review isn't likely to be particularly enlightening. But we enjoyed both bands so some sort of mention of this fact should be recorded, if only to enable the dear reader to look out for the aforementioned groups next time they're in town.

Tantrums are a local Birmingham band and in fact play the This Is Tomorrow all-dayer at The Victoria tomorrow (3rd). They helped stamp out tunelessness with a set drenched in harmonies, sounding a bit Britpop here and there but with vocal stylings perhaps more in keeping with the more radio-friendly end of emo. And yet, as desperate as that reads, it somehow worked, mainly thanks to some better-than-average choons and a healthy down-to-earth attitude ensuring there was no tears before bedtime on this occasion.

Crouch End's Bombay Bicycle Club looked impossibly young for a band who've been knocking around for long enough to be one of our top tips from the beginning of 2008. If theirs has been a slow progress to the point where they're headlining gigs like this, we witnessed first-hand from our unfamiliar stage-front positioning the frenzied excitement they've started eliciting from their peer-group following.

While you couldn't argue that the (lazy acronym alert!) BBC bring anything startlingly original to the table, you can't help but admire the way they mix the ingredients with such confident dexterity they can present a finished product that still feels fresh, vibrant and feelgood. Jack Steadman has the studied cool and easy arrogance to give Alex Turner a run for his money as the bookish fresher's heart-throb of choice, with tremulous vocals that occasionally recall the likes of Brett Anderson and Peter Perrett, while the band even get away with dropping in PV's pet hate (the token laboured ska-inflected song) and just about pulling it off without looking like prats.

Aside from the singles Always Like This and Evening/Morning, our favourites on the night were Ghost and Cancel On Me, and there certainly seemed enough strength in depth to suggest their debut album (due soon, we reckon) will be an impressive calling card. Although future records seemed the last thing on the audience's mind as they lost themselves in the here and now of crowd surges and stage invasions that saw your wobbling webmaster adopt the Bristol Jeff pose of shaking his mane while steadying one hand on the sound monitor throughout. And fashion pundits wouldn't forgive us for not mentioning the drummer's top-notch shiny parka, because surface coating is important, dontcha know.

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Anonymous alison said...

You superfan you! Speaking of which, enjoy Dot to Dot; you can dance like Jeff with Jeff! Wish I was around, the line up looks great.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

"PV's pet hate"? Mine too!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Cheers Alison, hope I don't get lost in Brizzle without you!

Ben, glad to hear you agree with me on schmindie types dabbling with clumsy ska moves to tepid effect. Dead Kenny knows, don't argue!

10:49 PM  

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