The last time that I laid eyes on British India shaking their shit on stage was Halloween a couple of years back. Zombie clad and off my head it was a frantic sight.
Singer Declan donned engorged novelty sunspecs gyrating to no end and with the rest of the band thrashing about, they all looked like proper rock stars. There was a tangible sense of camaraderie as myself and the crowd witnessed the band raw and un-checked, unspoken in mutual admiration for this tidal wave of music.
Their show on the 23rd however was a different story. Same venue, the Cambridge hotel (gloriously filthy as it should be) so the dejavu was kicking in a bit and I had decided to get drunk in homage to their previous gig.
I asked patron Sam at the bar if he was excited for the show “Fuck yeah I am” he said. After getting a feel for the vibe from Sam and sitting through a pretty mediocre supporting act, I perched myself comfortably in the second row eagerly awaiting the set. The band came on stage to a raucous applause.
I have no idea what they started with.
It’s probably my fault for not familiarising myself enough with “Nothing Touches Me” their latest musical effort but nonetheless while everyone was going nuts, I didn’t hear much sing-along action.
They went on to play their hits, “Tie Up My Hands” was particularly good but for me their best performance was “Vanilla”. It was bedlam during that song.
I had a shorter girl kicking me in the back of the legs screaming “Move out of the fucking way!” (I didn’t), guitarist Nic Wilson was rocking the fuck out, it was chaotic and the band were were totally owning the stage.
Their single “Suddenly” was a surprise knockout too, but honestly as it all went along it was pretty clear they were holding back.
Overall the show was well executed but it was a bit clean. It felt too “staged”, and that’s fine for some bands but British India have the potential to put on amazing performances that go beyond a well-rehearsed fan pleaser gig.
They didn’t hit their mark, but it was still British India and their songs are great so if they’re ever in town, buy a ticket and hope the boys are feeling rowdy.
Reviewed by: Nicholas Donovan