NME Tour – Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club etc.

It's a  little while since our last music post so here's a review of last night's NME tour at the Portsmouth Pyramids; a good venue, basically a large  1200 capacity room but good acoustics, pretty civilised, competent bar staff; and luxury of luxury, you can park free 50 yards from the venue (compared with the Michael Palin type expedition we tend to make to London venues.)

Anyway..first on, hotly tipped New Yorkers, The Drums.  And they were OK.  Really, really OK.  Decent songs, tight, discernible tunes in a New Order and Editors meets a hint of 60's surf punk vibe.  But didn't move me, didn't engage with the crowd such as it was at 7.20 pm.

The Big Pink. Now 'Dominoes' is perhaps THE anthem of 2009 but I have a nasty feeling that may be it from them.  Annoying droning electronic white noise between songs means that we don't know when to applaud the end of a song even if we feel like it.  And one is suddenly aware that even Dominoes has an absolutely killer chorus; but no verse.

The Maccabees headlined and re-inforced their move into the big league over the last year. Confident, almost Springsteen like in places with a 6 man band plus two honking saxophones; the new Killers?  And I mean that in a good way.  Huge tunes, audience went mad.  The O2 awaits, no doubt.

But the revelation of the night were the Bombay Bicycle Club.  We saw them at Reading last summer and they were good, a little lightweight, young chaps (still only 20) with good indie tunes and a decent first album under their belts.  But  something has happened over the last six months. Tonight they are huge.  The sense of power, understated much of the time,  dynamics, confident musicianship, pacing in individual songs and through the set, light and shade, slight rhythmic and structural twisting of conventional rock expectations; suddenly it hit me.  They could be our Kings of Leon (and I mean that in a good way too), and could sell just as many CDs.

They could do with someone taking a bit of vocal pressure off Jack Steadman - work on those harmonies, guys - but this was the sound of a band taking a huge step from interesting newcomers to taking on the world.  If you get the chance go and see them before its too late.

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