A month without live music is like a month without one of your best friends showing up at your front door. Last year having been so amazingly full of live shows such as Pearl Jam, The Strokes, U2, Rodrigo & Gabriela, Bombino and the like, the arrival of a good kick starter for the concert season had been one of the main concerns for the concert-goers of México. Amazing journeys should have amazing beginnings.
That’s why this author’s heart skipped a beat when realizing that Bombay Bicycle Club was coming to México City, and they were going to play at El Plaza Condesa, the exact same venue Bombino’s last 2011 concert occured. And both acts have a pretty similar name. Coincidence? Maybe, but we digress. El Plaza Condesa has earned a top spot concerning concert venues, its holds the exact amount of people to make a show feel simultaneously large enough to excite the senses and private enough for an intimate evening with a band or artist you really appreciate. It was perfect for a band so truly appreciated as Bombay Bicycle Club is.
Comparing these guys to Arctic Monkeys is a crime: their sound has conquered way more territories than just indie rock. Do you feel like dancing, relaxing, going crazy, head banging, rocking out or stomping your foot in a bluegrass manner? You got all of that in just one four-piece band. Not many artists are chameleon-like enough to change from a live show with the London School Of Samba to put together a folk ensemble along with banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitars. YouTube and word-of-mouth concert goers’ testimonies only set the bar higher for what we all expected of them.
Saturday came along and, before witnessing one of the most style diverse bands of the moment, a sweet girl, on her and with just a guitar in-hand and a cotton sweater came on-stage. And from her mouth came one of the sweetest and soulful voices you could ever hear. And that voice sang the most appropriated song for a foreign crowd, unaware of the existence of such small-sized wonderful talent: First. And as her song says: it’s the first, the first time. It was the first time, in 7 years of attending concerts, that the crowd yelled: “who are you?”. And she said, in a sweetly voice: “I can’t believe you don’t know who I am; this is the first time I’ve ever played without a backing band. I’m Lucy Rose and I love México”. And she won each and every one of us.
Bombay Bicycle Club’s Evening / Morning
The ones who knew who she was from the begging began to yell requests at her, and she played each and every one of them. Always smiling, throwing a look or two in every song, stomping her foot to carry on the rhythm and making the crowd clap along to help her out: Lucy Rose’s performance is the most simple yet most mesmerizing opening act you could ever see. After First, Middle Of the Bed and the favorite tune of the night, Magic Bus, Mrs. Rose walked off with a promise of coming back soon. And all there hopes she does, as is hard to imagine her not getting even better with a backing band supporting her. We loved Lucy.
After a few minutes, Lucy came back with a band, not as her backup, but backing it up. And their first tune, How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, all of a sudden kick-started the México City concert season. Bombay Bicycle Club woke us up and it wasn’t late enough, obviously. Showcasing such a rich variety of sounds and styles, Lucy and the boys never let anyone down. It didn’t matter if you knew only the quiet songs, the heavy stuff or the new dance tunes off their latest album: there was at least a handful of songs and rhythms for everyone.
Displaying the anger of their early years with Dust On The Ground and Lamplight, their acoustic side with Rinse Me Down and Ivy & Gold and the more danceable songs off their last album A Different Kind Of Fix, we all head banged, shouted, clapped, danced and stomped along for almost 2 hours of England’s first importation of the year. And the tune that made me and many fall in love with these Englishmen finale showed up, and boy: hearing Evening/Morning live is the real way you are supposed to hear it. Few bass lines are as simple yet body-moving material as this.
Lucy Rose put the final touch Bombay Bicycle Club needed to improve themselves once again: not a backing vocal female voice, but a voice powerful and mesmerizing enough to compel with Jack’s and make the songs deeper and richer. The evidence of this was during Lights Out, Words Gone and it was reaffirmed when Shuffle was the second to last song of the night.
Finally, after a set full of hard rock, samba, dance, bluegrass, folk and soft rock, Bombay Bicycle Club and Lucy Rose showed their respect and love to México one last time. Promising for the second time of the night that they would come back to our country as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter if they do it soon or late in the future. Their commitment and delivery to their audience is something to see whenever you have the chance. It’s rare to find young bands that have done so much in so little time, and who also manage to keep going forward but remain honest and true to themselves at the same time. But even if the boys of Bombay Bicycle Club don’t find their way back to their earned home in México’s heart, at least I and a few got the chance to watch them: and once is better than a lifetime.
Written by Jorge A. López Mendicuti, OurVinyl Senior Writer
Guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, law school graduate, amateur writer and music fan