Three years since they went on an “indefinite hiatus” and eight years since their last show in Cork, Bombay Bicycle Club are back.
Earlier this year, Bombay Bicycle Club revealed that they were back together and making new music. Shortly after, a string of festival appearances and intimate shows were announced, including a return to Cork for a night at the Opera House.
Supporting the ‘Dust on the Ground’ band were Dublin indie outfit Gypsies on the Autobahn. While the stall filled and seats were taken in the balcony, the band gave a heartfelt performance for the early arrivers.
The set was uplifting with swirling melodies that swept the crowd away. While one song would inject a mellow mood over the Opera House, the next would wash it away with energy and set the audience into a flurry of dancing and jumping.
Frontman James Smith was soaking up the moment in the prestigious venue. Taking the time out of their set to let the crowd know what it meant to him and the band to play at the Opera House. From the way each member moved on stage, or how brother Dan Smith drummed emphatically, you could see that James’ words rang true.
The last time Bombay Bicycle Club played in Cork, it was the winter of 2011 in the grotty nightclub turned venue The Savoy. They had released their third album A Different Kind of Fix earlier that summer and the future looked bright.
Then five years and another album later (So Long, See You Tomorrow), the London band released a statement announcing that they’d be going on an “indefinite hiatus”. It is rare that a band would return from any kind of hiatus, so it was all the more surprising when they shared a post confirming that they have been quietly working on new material and gearing up to hit the road.
View this post on Instagram
Hello, With a new year ahead of us, we thought now would be a good moment to give you a bit of news about what the four of us have been up to recently and what we have planned. Since late last year we’ve been getting back into the swing of playing music together. We were initially a little rusty but also nostalgic playing songs that have been around since we were teenagers. More than anything it just felt great to be in the same room playing again. It made us realise what a good thing we have and has given us renewed energy and enthusiasm for the future. The joy we were getting out of playing the old songs seemed to naturally lead us onto working on new material, so we’re becoming immersed in that as we speak. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we have something new for you guys to hear. We’re also planning some shows for later this year and beyond. We’ll have news on that front over the coming months. Can’t wait to see you all. We’ve missed you. Jack, Ed, Jamie, Suren x
So when drummer Suren de Saram walked on stage tapping his sticks together for the beginning of their instrumental track ‘Emergency Contraception Blues’, which was then brought to life in explosive fashion by the rest of the band, you can only imagine the reaction inside the Opera House by some people who had waited eight years to see them again.
The set was an illustrious reminder of why they are one of the most beloved indie bands around, even after time away. As they threw out favourites such as ‘Lights Out’, ‘Luna’ and ‘Always Like This’, not only could you see and feel the adoration for the band, but you could see just how much they were enjoying being back on stage together too.
Frontman, Jack Steadman would shuffle around the stage, guitarist Jamie McNoll looking desperate to be in the thick of the crowd, while bassist Ed Nash would thrash around in his corner of the stage.
While the band and crowd revelled in nostalgia, they also gave an insight of what’s to come, previewing what will be their first release in three years. With a sultry beat, layered with an 8-bit sound effect over it, they showed no signs of rustiness.
The Opera House was a sweatbox as people jumped, danced and sang their hearts out. When the furious ‘Evening/Morning’, the tension rose when before the big finalé each member stood in silence for what felt like an eternity before Saram’s drums crashed down and came to a rapid and thrilling end.
For songs such as ‘Home By Now’ and the uplifting ‘Luna’, the band were joined by singer, Liz Lawrence. Lawrence got her own moment in the spotlight when the band gave her the lead for a special rendition of Robyn’s ‘With Every Heartbeat’.
The night was brought to a thunderous end with the pulsating ‘Carry Me’, leaving with their statement made: Bombay Bicycle Club are back.
Photos taken by author. Check out the full gallery below.