Bombay Bicycle Club and Royal Canoe at Wonder Ballroom

Vortex Music Magazine

Prone to experimentation in the realm of indie rock, London’s BBC return to the Wonder Ballroom on April 22.

Bombay Bicycle Club is one of those bands that wholeheartedly embodies what it means to be an indie rock act. With a sound that is openly recognizable yet decisively fresh, calmingly soft yet strikingly cutting, the four-member outfit from London has spent the past handful of years remaining near the top of an ever-changing genre of music—one that tends to see bands lose luster after an album or two. In true indie fashion, they’ve managed to build a solid fan base all while staying just under the radar, at least the one that would strew them all over your local Clear Channel-owned radio station.

But what makes BBC increasingly popular remains somewhat of a mystery. They are one of the few bands on the indie scene that continues to progressively rise even after experimenting with new techniques and sounds on each of their releases. (For bad examples, see MGMT, Bloc Party or Cold War Kids.) Their latest release, So Long, See You Tomorrow, sees the band incorporate numerous Eastern influences after frontman Jack Steadman spent much of his off time traveling through Europe, India and even into Japan.

Teetering on the line between pop and dance, Bombay Bicycle Club have coherently blended English rock, electronica and R&B with traditional Middle Eastern melodies to create a full-bodied sonic explosion. Steadman’s intoxicatingly sweet vocals croon above a myriad of guitar jangles, playful loops, drums and synthesized beats, all whirring in unison to keep your ears attentive and happy.

If you’ve had the pleasure of catching either of BBC’s previous two shows in Portland, then you already know how their pure musicianship and incredible tightness on stage oozes an unpretentious coolness that'll leave you in a state of euphoria. If you haven’t, then it’s highly recommended that you buy your ticket soon as this show will likely reach capacity.

Opening for BBC is a zany six pack of Canadians who’ll bring their unconventional, emotion-tangling sound to the Wonder stage. Royal Canoe could be labeled with a plethora of genres but for simplicity's sake, let’s call them twisted pop—think Man Man without the distinct vocals of lead singer Honus Honus. Lugging hundreds of pounds of keyboards, pedals and mixers, these outlandish fellas are ready to thaw you out with their cacophony of sound. In the tradition of keeping Portland weird, Royal Canoe should fit right in.

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