I hate Hoboken. More specifically, I hate driving in Hoboken. At this point I’m relatively sure it’s at least the 3rd layer of Hell. Yet, when Bombay Bicycle Club decides they are going to play Maxwell’s, one is inclined to make the journey. So while the train might have been as easier option, I honestly didn’t feel like only getting three hours of sleep (the last one would have left at 2AM) and as a result drove on in.
It was worth it, 20 minute parking search and all. After some quick chicken tenders at the bar to celebrate my recent discovery of honey mustard, I made my way into the back ‘venue’ area. It is small. Like, insanely small. Like smaller than basements I’ve played in small. There’s a bar, though! Which makes it smaller. I mentally had to do a recheck to be sure that Bombay Bicycle Club, one of the actually exploding bands in the UK scene, would be playing on the incredibly intiment stage. When it was confirmed they were, the little girl in me jumped for joy. There was no way I couldn’t be close to the band, because every part of the room was tecnically ‘close.’ It was already a good night, and I hadn’t even seen anything yet.
The Darcys were on stage when we waked in, and I regret not seeing a bit more of them. They were playing a heavier, more epic indie rock than I was expecting, but it was good from the two songs I was able to hear. Alas, maybe next time…
Bombay Bicycle Club took the stage after a few minutes and immediately launched into A Different Kind of Fix opener “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep?” It’s now clear to me why they wrote it, for it really is a perfect set opener. Repetitive and drawing, and half way through exploding into their usualy rocking sound, it lit up the room and the transformation into ‘venue’ was complete. The great thing about the band is that even when they are playing softly, they always find a way to kee the listener’s interest peaked. There’s an extra guitar line here, a quick drum fill there, and you’re still in it.
While I personally thought their most recent album was a slight snooze, (based on length, mainly) the live versions really brought out the intensity that seems latent in the studio takes. They actually ended up closer in feel to their debut from a few years back, which for most people is by far the band’s best album. The set was split pretty equally between these two albums, with a few non-album cuts filling in, such as the excellent “Open House.” BBC shone brightest on songs from the debut, which still comes off catchier and more fun than their recent relaxed work.
“Evening/Morning,” “Cancel On Me,” and “Always Been Like This” received the best crowd reactions, but “Shuffle” was also just as exciting when it’s unmistakable bop broke through later in the encore. A few more songs and Bombay was gone, but the best concert I’ve seen this year is going to stay for a while. No doubt about that.
I sadly didn’t take any video myself, but here’s one from MsAmyBrooklyn…