Bombay Bicycle Club’s Triumphant Return to Boston

I attended a Bombay Bicycle Club concert back in October 2014, after the release of their latest album at the time Luna. Nestled in the balcony of The Warfield in San Francisco, I trained my eyes on Jack, Ed, Jamie, and Suren. This concert came two years before the band announced their breakup, and in my sheer naivety I soaked up the band’s catchy lyrics and rambunctious beats. The day Bombay Bicycle Club announced their indefinite breakup, I mourned. What emerged during that quiet period, solo projects Mr. Jukes by Jack Steadman to Toothless by Ed Nash, shined on their own, and yet the compatible, indispensable sounds from the band lingered nostalgically.

Five years later in the same month of October, I jumped at the chance to see their return tour at the Boston Royale. Peering into those same faces at the Royale’s front lines, I immersed myself in the breathtaking performance that solidified them as the best band — live and recorded — in my mind.

Before Bombay Bicycle Club took the stage, The Greeting Committee, a four-piece indie rock band from Kansas, shined on their own merit. Addie Sartino, the band’s lead singer, jumped, clapped, and raised the spirits of an audience that initially seemed hesitant to cheer loudly. With hair flying and animated stomping, Sartino instructed the crowd to holler, squat, jump, and clap. The band’s saxophonist Pierce Turcotte stoked the audience with snappy rhythms and entertained by playfully kicking Sartino. Even moments when the band faltered — such as when Sartino and Turcotte burst into laughter after the saxophonist’s missed cue — they remained unfrazzled with high energy.

Once Bombay Bicycle Club stormed the stage, the crowd’s roars reached a deafening decibel. Bombay Bicycle Club sparked the stage with old favorites, new bops, harsh tunes, and quiet jams — the best punch of nostalgia with a hint of newness for the seasoned listener. With the audience singing over my shoulder, I felt the spirit of loyal Bombay Bicycle Club listeners patiently awaiting and now cherishing the band’s return.

During this performance, I clung to rocker melodies from Luna such as “Overdone,” with its sharp white spotlights and crisp lyrics marked with Jack’s English accent, and “Carry Me,” a funky tune with help from Liz Lawrence that whistled in my ear with Jack repeating “You Carry Me.” Their newest single, “Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)” with repeating lyrics from the same title stirred the audience as a new crowd favorite. The band even previewed new songs from their album such as tambourine heavy “Everything Else Has Gone Wrong,” which transfixed an audience anticipating the band’s new release.

Most of all, the band’s constant outpour of joy made the entire experience living, breathing, and human. It was as if no lapse in time existed from 2014 to 2019 — the band traded comfortable glances and smiles with each other throughout the set. Everything moved fluidly, sounds collapsed on and intersected with each other in remarkable ways, and spirits remained high the entire evening. Just like I did, do not miss Bombay Bicycle Club with The Greeting Committee on the road playing all the favorites before they drop their new album Everything Else Has Gone Wrong on January 17, 2020.

Jess Eng is a DJ for Blues. Photo Credits by Jess Eng.