Live Review: Bombay Bicycle Club at The Roundhouse

on Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Words: Kieran Toms

Live: Bombay Bicycle Club, Stephen Fry and Everything Everything at The Roundhouse, London (18/07/10)

Bombay Bicycle Club at iTunes Festival 2010 (Photo by
Everything Everything opened this installment of the seemingly everlasting iTunes Festival in a pleasingly competent fashion – though the majority of the crowd seemed to be fairly unfamiliar with the band to start with, their expansive songs seemed to fit the large venue, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future they themselves were headlining venues the size of the Roundhouse.

Pretty much every other iTunes gig has featured two bands but here, for some reason, they decided to put Stephen Fry in the middle of the evening. I suppose there aren’t many 52-year-old men who could come onstage in the middle of a gig and do a Q & A, but then Stephen Fry has carved out rather a niche for himself as a national treasure.

Perhaps it is because I was nestled snugly on the balcony, and could lean back contentedly and enjoy it, but it was actually all very nice, kind of soothing. He answered some questions from a nervous journalist onstage with him, and a few from Twitter, and rambles on about things he likes, like Twitter and Apple products (this is the iTunes festival after all) and a few things he doesn’t like, like people who don’t like downloading and people who criticise Apple products. He was open and honest, and although it’s not exactly stand-up comedy, he was still frequently amusing. It was sort of like a less smug bit of Radio 4, and proved rather pleasant.

Stephen Fry at iTunes Festival 2010 (Photo by
After brief advert on the screens for the iTunes festival (err....we're already here), Bombay Bicycle Club take to the stage to a rapturous reception. Having spent a good couple of years getting their up-tempo, bass-driven guitar music rightly popular, they’ve made a slightly strange decision to immediately abandon all that and release an acoustic album.

Here the band start with some of those new acoustic tracks, with various members coming and going and playing different instruments, the only constant being singer Jack Steadman, and the audience doesn’t quite know what to think. They seem a little underwhelmed, but the songs are still enjoyable, if not as poignant as if we were in a more intimate venue. But the crowd really got going when the band is finally assembled into the driven post-punky outfit that most people know them for, and the big hits like 'Evening/Morning' and 'Always Like This' sound all the more impacting from following the quiet start.

Singer Jack Steadman’s voice, whilst still characteristically fragile-sounding, is noticeably more powerful than the last time I saw them over a year ago. It is clear from this performance that Bombay Bicycle Club have grown into a band more than comfortable with headlining such a large venue, and what’s more, they don’t even seem phased about coming on after Stephen Fry.

The iTunes festival continues till the end of July. Photos by queen_evie.

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