The BBC/Darcy/Lucy traveling band made their way through Hoboken last night -- all first-time appearances in the Garden State. It better not be their last because I can say without hesitation that this was the first great show I've seen this year. You have my new buddy Lucy Rose stunning the crowd into silence with her beautiful acoustic set, Canucks The Darcys creating an avalanche of incredible noise and Bombay Bicycle Club staking their claim as one of the most energizing live acts to come from the U.K.
- How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep
- Your Eyes
- Bad Timing
- Open House
- Dust on the Ground
- Leave It
- Take the Right One
- Lights Out, Words Gone
- Rinse Me Down
- Ivy And Gold
- Cancel On Me
It was only last year at this time that Bombay Bicycle Club made its way over to the States for the first time. Even though their 2009 debut album I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose had a grand reception and a proper U.S. release, they never got the support to come over for live dates. Guitarists Jamie MacColl apologize to the crowd for now coming over to Maxwell's for seven years. Well, good thing they've been making up for lost time with their first extensive headlining tour of U.S. and Canada. Previously, they were supporting Two Doors Cinema Club on their big North American tour.
Last night's show reminded me of other young British bands I've seen at Maxwell's who came in not knowing what to expect and then subsequently playing at a high level to a sold out crowd. Specifically, Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs played energetic shows and went onto great success. I think BBC has that in them, especially when their newest album, A Different Kind of Fix, is their best album to date. Not that they did anything radically different from their debut, but the songs have a great variety of moods and atmospheres. You have the bouncy piano jam "Shuffle" against the boyish romantic ode "Lights Out, Words Gone". At that center is the jittery vocals from Jack Steadman, the shy lead singer who can let loose when guitar prowess needs to be injected. He doesn't say much during the show, letting the songs speak for themselves.
There wasn't a dull moment in the show. "Evening/Morning", their breakout song from 2008, scorched the stage at Maxwell's. Then when Lucy would come out hiding in the back to do backing vocals, the vibe became lively and charming. "How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep" -- not a title that rolls off the tongue -- shows the depth of BBC's sound. Even songs that they played from their second album, Flaws, which I didn't particularly care for, came across as new and fresh. I've said it many times before, when you have any bands play right in front of you, that's where the memorable shows happen. I'll take the immediacy and intimacy over large festival stages any day.
I was jonsing to see The Darcys play some Steely Dan last night, and they did with a rousing rendition of Deacon Blues from their Aja cover album. Added with songs from their Arts & Crafts self-titled debut album, I think I have band I will need to see multiple times. They reminded of my obsession with Secret Machines when they first came on the scene. The Darcys play an aggressive, epic and emotional version of Pink Floyd-ish prog rock. They have the large, expansive and driving songs like "Don't Bleed Me" and "House Built Around Your Voice" juxtaposed with the quiet and simple tracks like "Shaking Down The Old Bones". Thus, when they applied that template to the Aja album, it's just pure gold.
Lucy Rose is just darling. I want to clone her and place those clones in every circle of friends. The British singer guests of the BBC album and vice versa of her singles. When she's done with this tour (the last night is Philadelphia's Union Transfer on Saturday), she'll head back to finish on that debut album. What you are going to do right now is head over to Spotify, type in Lucy Rose, and enjoy the three songs and remixes that she has available. They are called "Middle of the Bed", "Red Face" and "Scar". I'll be here when you get back....
Am I right? Don't you better? She had the whole crowd entranced, so much so that nobody chatted during her set. She even noted that back in the UK, she was use to random noises while she played. Well done Jersey.