Join My Club (Or Team or Party) -#4 – Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club were to the best of my knowledge named after a chain of Indian restaurants based in North London that were beloved by the band.    My favourite Indian restaurant is called Mahal Masala.  It would be a terrible name for a band.

Always Like This – Bombay Bicycle Club (2009, Island Records, Taken from ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose’)

About fifteen years ago I went on a stag do to Birmingham (which folks, is where I am typing this, sat in a grand hotel waiting for a conference to start).  The stag do was a lot of fun, we met in a bar watched a lunch time game of football, then went go karting.   Which I was terrible at.

As we waited for our taxi to take us back to the hotel, John one of the party and I got talking to the guy who owned the karting track.  He asked us where we going for food that night.  The answer to that was a tandoori about three minutes walk from the hotel.  The guy turned his nose up.

Don’t go there” he told us. “Let me make a phone call to my cousin”. 

Now, regular readers will remember last week where a man in Malta took us to his cousin’s restaurant and it was garbage – so I am sceptical at best.  John, however, is convinced that this is a brilliant idea.

The man comes back and tells us to be outside our hotel at seven and to bring our own booze.

At seven, eight of us pile into a minibus, our stag dressed in a five pound frock we have found in a Smethwick charity shop and our driver, who tell us he is called Kenny, drives us across the darkening streets of Birmingham – with no idea where we are going, most of us have been drinking for four hours so really don’t care.

About half an hour later we pull into a small back street and Kenny leads us to a small house.  It is definitely not a restaurant.  It is a house and not a very big one at that.  We enter via the back door and walk into a kitchen which smells incredible.  An old Indian lady greets us with a polite nod of the head.  Kenny tells us that this is his mother and she is cooking the dinner.   The lady laughs as the stag walks in, his orange lame dress riding up suggestively.   Kenny leads us through to a room.  This is a lounge, with a large table in the middle of it.  Kenny tells us that dinner is £6 per head and that there are three types of balti available plus naan bread, dips and some saag aloo.

We look at each other – grab a seat and open the bottles of beer that we have brought with us. The food is quite simply, amazing and remains to this day, the best Indian food that I have ever eaten.  There is so much food and when we have finished we all sit back rubbing our stuffed bellies.  Sometimes a chance suggestion can be a very good thing.  

Bombay Bicycle Club are a five piece from London, they largely revolved around the vocal talents of Jack Steadman, but as a band they have an incredible musical pedigree, one of them is the nephew of Kirsty MacColl for instance. One of them is the grandson of Peggy Seeger and one of them is related to a massively influential Sri Lankan musician. When they first arrived on the scene around 15 years ago, they were young, vibrant and full of incredible ideas.  Their first album positively bristled with energetic indie rock that hinted at greatness

Magnet – Bombay Bicycle Club (2009, Island Records, Taken from ‘I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose)

A few albums later, the bands sound had matured, singer Jack Steadman taking a more direct route, there were lots more songs that were piano led, and there was more of an emphasis of slower pace songs.  Their third album ‘Flaws’ was a largely acoustic record and received a mixed reception from critics and fans alike.

Ivy & Gold – Bombay Bicycle Club (2010, Island Records, Taken from ‘Flaws’)

After ‘Flaws’ the band returned with perhaps their most pop moment in the form of the single ‘Shuffle’ which received a lot of radio play but didn’t quite give the band the commercial breakthrough that they deserved.

Shuffle Bombay Bicycle Club (2011, Island Records, Taken from ‘A Different Kind of Fix’)

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