A fully-packed Fillmore can’t stop the party after Bombay Bicycle Club

Photos by Chaya Frash // Written by Molly Kish //

This past Friday, the streets outside of The Fillmore were lined with the usual mix of eager concertgoers, ticket seekers and subsequent scalpers collecting inflated profit on the up sell on the sold-out show. This is a very typical scene for the start of a weekend.

However, to my surprise and to that of the headlining act, it was one that was otherwise unanticipated. Then, there is the venue, known for booking big-name talent with the ability to fill their space that’s suited for 1,200 people, who may have had clearer foresight into the evening.

I definitely was surprised that a band from overseas, who lack commercial radio airplay and have limited stateside coverage, could execute such a feat. I had interviewed bassist Ed Nash from Bombay Bicycle Club three days earlier, and upon thinking back on the interview, it became apparent that this is a running theme throughout Bombay Bicycle Club’s charmed career.

The show Friday night was jam-packed with people from all different walks of life, further enhanced by no age limit on the ticket. Enthusiastically attentive during the opening act, the crowd showed energy that was in anticipation of the London group’s set. As if playing The Fillmore wasn’t an already overwhelming experience, the BBC fan base that evening made sure that this was a night the boys would remember. The crowd enthusiasm, which included screeches of joy as a new song began, was something that lead singer Jack Steadman commented on several times throughout their set to humbly acknowledge and to show their appreciation for their loyal audience.

Preceding the encore, the band called up a someone from their entourage to confirm “in all sincerity, this show was easily the best of the tour so far.” This very typical, applause-friendly comment most band’s fall back upon, was actually very plausible for this Fillmore show, and probably sincerely meant. Especially considering that after the show-pinnacle, three song encore with the house lights on, I experienced something that in all my years of show-going made even a normal Friday at The Fillmore stand out for me.

Possibly as a result of the all-age crowd or more likely the kinetic energy that Bombay Bicycle Club brought with them to the venue, one-fourth of the sold-out audience decided that the party wasn’t over. Amidst an otherwise terribly obnoxious disco-laden setlist meant to clear even the most excited of concert goers, a full-on, post-show dance party ensued. Large group circles formed and conga trains ran throughout, all of which only seemed second nature in the moment and was being further encouraged by the boy’s whom were watching from the balconies.

You could tell by the genuine delight on the group’s faces and by the fact that they were recording the event on their phones that this must have been a rare occurrence. It was a moment that otherwise unanticipated, cohesively falls into place and further accentuates the delightfully laissez-faire celebrity of Bombay Bicycle Club.

Earlier in the week before the show at The Fillmore, Showbams spoke with Nash over the phone about the band’s name, bold recording decisions and what performing at the London Olympics was like.

Showbams: Starting out in 2006, I know you guys got your name from a chain of Indian restaurants, hence Bombay Bicycle Club. Did they ever catch onto that or has it just persisted as an homage or running joke?

Nash: Well, They actually took us for a free meal about 4-5 years ago, the owner found out that there was a band with the same name. We were about 16 or 17 and weren’t doing anything particularly worthwhile at the time, so yeah he took us out for a meal and had a chat and actually they’ve closed down now. They’ve stopped doing Bombay Bicycle Club now, so I think we’ve won that war. Yeah, we’re first on Google and I don’t think there’s a restaurant anymore.

Showbams: In 2006, you guys were entered into Virgin Mobile’s “Road to V” contest and won and have been going really full throttle into your career as a band since. Who initially decided to enter into the contest?

Nash: That was Jamie, our guitarist. A friend of his recommended he enter so he did and then completely forgot that we’d been entered into it. We got this email probably a couple of months later saying that we’d won and we thought it was a joke. None of us knew what it was. Then, we looked it up and were like, “Oh, oh, this is for real. I guess we should probably do this.” But for a while, we thought it was a joke. We didn’t know what we were doing.

Showbams: The prize was an opening spot at V Fest. Was that nerve-wracking?

Nash: I think it might have been more nerve-wracking had we done it later on in our career or if we were in a different place. We were literally 16 years old having the funnest time of our lives. The thing was that all of the other bands in that competition took it so seriously, and it was like their big break. We were just these silly little kids who went mucking around, and we were amazed we were getting free beer backstage at the fest and things like that. It was all just a very surreal, hilarious experience for us. I don’t think we realized how much of a big deal it was for us.

Showbams: Over the next few years, the band was involved in numerous festivals, revues and even headlining performances like the Levi’s “One to Watch”, which was broadcasted all before you even recorded your first full-length album. Did this affect the writing process for you guys at all?

Nash: Not really. After we did the “Road to V”, we went back to school for two years and finished up our A Levels, kind of the equivalent of high school. I think when we finished “Road to V”, there was quite a bit of hype then about the band, but that died down pretty quickly afterward. We could’ve taken advantage of that, left and recorded the album then, do things that way, but we wanted to kind of lay low and write the songs that we think we could write, but didn’t have and think about the album. We’re going to record more and do it when we were ready to do it. I think by the time we got around to recording the album, the “Road to V” hype had died down, obviously we had done some other things, but that initial part of it died down a bit and we were ready to make the album we wanted to make. I think that had we not gone off the “Road to V” a success, I wouldn’t be here talking like this right now. It wouldn’t have been the best route.

Showbams: The band’s album Flaws was recorded shortly thereafter but in a different fashion. You guys opted to do a completely acoustic sophomore effort, which is kind of a big gamble and a bold choice for your second album. What made you decide to go that route?

Nash: Again, kind of looking back, it was a very unexpected thing to do, and I think a lot of people thought we were crazy for doing it. That album pretty much came around, we were recording some B-sides for the first album, literally like B-sides and they were acoustic because it was always something that we used to be into before doing tours. We realized that we had a large amount of acoustic songs and thought they were better than just B-sides and could stand alone. We recorded this album ourselves over the course of that year and then released it. In our minds at the time, it wasn’t really a second album — it was just something that we did that was fun on the side. We didn’t think anyone would pick up on it. Then, people ended up picking up on it more than they had the first album, which was great and that’s it. It became something bigger than we intended it to.

Showbams: This past year, you released your new album A Different Kind of Fix and rounded off the album with a later adding pf “Beg” for its final release this past July. Why did it get left off the initial LP?

Nash: Man, I don’t know. I kind of regret not putting it on the album the first time around. I think all of us did. At the time, we felt it didn’t fit with the actual sound of the album, even though we loved the song. So, we all realized this and wanted to have a proper release for it, but I think it probably should’ve gone on the album the first time around. That’s one little thing I regret.

Showbams: You also were part of the closing performance at the London Olympics in Hyde Park. How was it being a part of such a large-scale event?

Nash: That was absolutely incredible, for more than one reason actually. We started the band in London, all of us grew up in London. I went to a few shows in Hyde Park when I was a kid, you know. It meant a lot to be involved in something that close to us all. The other part of it was the direct lineup of bands that I have always loved, some of my favorite bands were playing like Blur, The Specials and New Order. It kind of blew my mind that we were amongst those people. It was pretty crazy.


  1. Great Read and interview!! Nice Pics Chaya! Ive heard this name, guess i need to check em out.

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