Live Review: The Bombay Royale, The Bluebottles

2 September 2013 | 11:25 am | Dominique Wall

"For pure entertainment value, they are rivaled by a few, but it’s nice to see there is quality in there, too."

It's a balmy Saturday evening and even though tonight's gig is sold out and the remainder of Howler is packed to the brim, the band room is surprisingly underpopulated as local quartet, The Bluebottles, rock out their brand of mid-century instrumental rock. Their mix of covers (including such classics as Walk, Don't Run) and originals is perfect for getting the crowd in the mood for what lies ahead, with a particularly enthusiastic handful making use of the empty space by dancing like no-one is watching. The close-to-stifling heat makes it difficult to get comfortable, but the atmosphere is definitely one of happiness.

Having only recently returned from a five-week tour that saw them grace the stage at Glastonbury, amongst other places, The Bombay Royale announce their impending presence without words thanks to their giant inflatable elephant who greets the eyes of everyone who comes through the door. By the time this much-loved eleven piece take to the stage, the room is packed, not to mention boiling, and the crowd are thrilled to help welcome them home. As if it isn't enough that there are eleven bodies on stage, they utilise the movie-screen-esque backdrop with a mixture of snippets from Bollywood movies, as well as their own images, creating a visual sensory overload.

At one point, singer Shourov Bhattacharya, AKA The Tiger, informs us that while on tour they were constantly asked what sort of band they are, to which his reply was “I don't know – inspired by vintage Bollywood, but cutting our own path.” It's a highly accurate description, given that other than the obvious Bollywood music influence, there appear to be elements, at times and to varying degrees, of ska, mariachi, and surf music. It's a giant melting pot of sounds and the divine vocals of Bhattacharya and Parvyn Kaur Singh, AKA The Mysterious Lady, are a joy to listen to.

Almost all of the audience are dancing in one way or another (some a little more fervently than others), with more than one person trying out their take on Bollywood dance moves. The Bombay Royale are not just paying lip service to Bollywood – there is a real beauty in what they're doing and they are paying homage to this highly infectious world in a wonderful way. For pure entertainment value, they are rivaled by a few, but it's nice to see there is quality in there, too.

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