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Saturday, 20 February 2010

NME Tour Feat. Maccabees w/Bombay Bicycle Club, The Big Pink + The Drums @ Bournemouth O2 Academy, (Feb 16, 2010)

The structure of this year's NME tour, in a nutshell, consisted of a few hundred teenage Maccabees fans turning up to see the quiet-of-late indie rock band, with what they considered two or three other of NME's more recent additions warming up as support. This lack of understanding couldn't have been demonstrated better when a completely motionless crowd stood and chattered through a stunning Big Pink set, only to turn into a swarm of over-enthused teenagers when the single 'Dominos' ended. The crowd was divided, a few stood back and gave cynical looks at the hyperactive 'jumpers' (for lack of a better word), but the vast majority proceeded to take part. It saddens me to say the least; it was the first time i'd seen them after failing to track down the Queen's Head Stage at Glastonbury last June, and to have it ruined by the unconcerned and checkered shirted Bournemouth youth was a shame. It made a shocking contrast from the nicely matured Brighton Audio crowd i'd been a part of the previous night.

But i'm not here to talk about the lack of a decent crowd, i'm here to talk about the music, which on the whole was really well put together and played convincingly. The Big Pink as i've mentioned before, put out a great performance. With Furze's leather jacket and fantastic stage presence, the tag of 'shoegaze' can be applied to the sound but not the cultural descent of the band. The term originated from the same magazine that was putting on the show tonight, after what i believe was an NME journalist (correct me if i'm wrong) noted how many reverb drenched noise pop bands simply stood and motionlessly 'gazed' at their 'shoes' throughout their live shows. Furze and his now full band set-up did quite the opposite; they put on what can only be described a smoke-drenched 'rock show', with a huge and crushing wall of sound seeping over their scatty electro beats.

Bombay Bicycle Club are the band out of the four at the show who I am least familiar with, although i'm not entirely sure why this is. I've read about them and owned their album for months, its just when it comes down to it I don't find them nearly as interesting as the other bands on that night. I'd already missed the Drums, which was a shame, but putting a band on stage at 7.15 I find frankly a bit of an insult.

Now-veterans The Maccabees completed the night, and perfectly in keeping with the increasingly rowdy trend i've noticed for this band's followers, my standing position near the front I was instantly swept away from. I felt like i was at a teen-metal gig. Not nice, and uncalled for, especially from Maccabees fans, a band i actually find far more relaxed and far more intricate than any of the other bands present.

I think you'll find far more pleasure in these MP3s than I did in the typical Topman infested 15 year old crowd. As great as the bands are, having a nice atmosphere is just as important; but these days, what can you expect from the readership of NME? I've attached The Big Pink's Velvet, The Drum's I Felt Stupid, The New Maccabees collaboration with Roots Manuva, and finally the original-topping James Rutledge remix of BBC's fantastic Always Like This. One last thing, hope you like my somewhat blurred original photography up top.

The Drums - I Felt Stupid (MP3)
Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This (James Rutledge Remix) (MP3
The Big Pink - Velvet (MP3)
The Maccabees ft. Roots Manuva - Empty Vessels (MP3)


  1. "Topman infested" hahaha so true. Every gig just allows me to marvel more that Topman actually has more plaid shirts to sell to their undemanding consumers. Unfortunately, they're the same idiots who make up a large part of the NME's audience. Glad I didn't go to the gig in Manchester, even though the line up was so good.

  2. this is exactly the point i was trying to (subtly) get across, i find the NME stamp doesn't bode well for band audiences, even if it substantially increases their sizes.

    also, i don't know if you've read any of my other live reviews in Bournemouth, but almost without fail i can never resist making reference to just how plain and boring so many of the gig goers are. Its a shame, because on occasion you get some fantastic bands down here.


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