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  • Matt Codd

Bombay Bicycle Club @ The Leadmill: Indie Kings Show They’re Still the Best Around

Bombay Bicycle Club made a triumphant return up north on July 21st with a run of shows which included a sold-out gig at The Leadmill, as most good things do. The seminal indie rockers embarked on the mini tour to warm-up for their headline slot at this year’s Truck Festival. The iconic venue was heaving with people from the moment we arrived, and the excitement was palpable.

The band last played this venue back in 2019, bringing an end to their 3-year hiatus, and what better way to return than this? An iconic venue that has kept Sheffield dancing since the 1980s (sign the petition to save The Leadmill if you haven’t already). Tonight, it would once again provide the stage for a night of unbeatable live music from one of the best bands around.

Officially a quartet, the band took to the stage accompanied by a backing vocalist as well a three-piece brass band, before launching the set with Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You), the lead single for their fifth album Everything Else Has Gone Wrong. An important track for the band, being the first music released after their hiatus, it felt only right that this was the opener.

The band thundered through their mammoth 17-song set, buoyed by one of the loudest crowds I’ve ever been a part of. Within that set lay a mix of staple tracks, newer additions, a cover and even a debut of upcoming single I Want To Be Your Only Pet. There truly was something for every kind of fan. Never before did I think my life would peak at hearing a Selena Gomez cover, but Bombay Bicycle Club’s spin on her hit Lose You To Love Me is so unique and so quintessentially them that it is impossible not to fall in love with it.

Particular highlights for me were hearing Lights Out Words Gone and Shuffle live for the very first time, but it feels unfair to pick favourites from such a stellar setlist. 2014 album So Long, See you Tomorrow was the bands first chart topper and as such was a feature of the performance: Overdone and Feel helped open the set and catapult us into the world of Bombay Bicycle Club, while hits Luna and Carry Me were more than worthy choices for the final songs before the encore.

The energy never wilted throughout though, the band; led by their effervescent frontman Jack Steadman, didn’t let up. It was hard not to dance and sing every word along with them when they looked like they were having as much as fun we were. They kept us on our toes, the crowd waited with bated breath between songs to see which favourite was coming next. They even threw in an awesome transition moment to fade out of Good Day into an excellent performance of How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep; Genius.

As Carry Me came to a close, and the band vacated the stage, there was a glaring hole in their set. Always Like This was one of their first singles and it remains their biggest song to date. It’s one of the songs that made them into the cornerstone of indie rock that they are today. As the band emerged from the shadows back on stage, there could only be one way to close the evening. It was crescendo moment, hundreds of people in perfect unison, drowning out Jack’s singing with their own. Few other bands could illicit such a raw and passionate reaction from a room full of people, but Bombay Bicycle Club did so all night long, Always Like This was simply the crowning moment of a transcendent evening.

I can use as many words as I like to try to capture the atmosphere and describe this gig, but none that I choose could ever do it justice. It was genuinely a “you had to be there” kind of experience. The biggest compliment I could possibly pay is that they had me grinning from ear to ear for the entire show. Bombay Bicycle Club were a formative band for me, they’ve been a huge part of my life since I first heard I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose. I was completely heartbroken when they announced their hiatus, but now they’re back and better than ever. This gig was simply the next step on their path to cementing their place in the pantheon of British indie greats.


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