First up was the support act for Bombay Bicycle Club, Rae Morris. By the time her set had begun, Portsmouth Guildhall was almost full. Her vocals, which reminded me of a young Ellie Goulding at points, mixed with London Grammar’s Hannah Reid, were hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and effortlessly cool.
With her hair, dress sense (classic denim shirt, black trousers), and the way she moved whilst playing the keyboard and singing, you got the impression that she was the cool girl at a party, dancing to her own beat. You just wanted to listen to her sing, and dance along.
But, of course, we were there to see Bombay Bicycle Club, and by the time they walked on stage, the crowd was rearing to go. (Whilst watching the set being changed, most of us sang along to ‘Living on a Prayer’ and danced to club tracks.)
When they did walk on, emulating the figure being projected onto the screen behind them, screams rang out, and even someone who didn’t know their music as well as the hard core fans would know, THEY had arrived.
Immediately, they began, lights so bright that it felt like a mini-rave, distracting from the faces of the band. For those who thought BBC were shy, hiding behind the theatrics, I would disagree. They were letting the music talk, the lights dance, and really giving us what we wanted.
When their single ‘Overdone‘ finished, there was barely a moment’s pause before they launched into a crowd favourite, ‘It’s alright now’. At this point, I wished I was in the crowd, rather than the circle, as I wanted to jump, dance and clap, scream and sing along – and things just got better and better.
By ‘Lamplight’, everyone seemed to be under BBC’s spell, and since there had been little chit chat between songs thus far, when they told us to clap, we F’ing clapped.
Every song held a new meaning, and the crowd knew it. Every song felt special, and by ‘Home By Now‘ you felt like this was both an intimate, and a public thing. On the one hand the band were playing a sold out Guildhall, and on the other, you were in your own little world.
There was so little time to pause, and remember where you were, and yet every song took you to a new place. When Rae Morris returned with vocals, the crowd wanted more, and boy did we get it?
When they walked off stage, I was a little shocked that we’d got to that point, we’d reached the small break before the inevitable encore. Two more songs were left, and I felt as if the glass had been shattered.
Writing this review, I’m struggling to not name all of their songs, struggling to not be one sided, but, this tour is, of course, sold out for a reason.
BBC are (in the words of my friend) a band who are ready to make the transition into playing arenas. And I’m pretty sure they’d be sold out too!