Bastille are proving to be one of the most celebrated bands of 2013 with their debut studio album Bad Blood speeding straight to number one in the UK charts earlier this month. It seems that their popularity can only continue to grow and reach new heights (much like Dan’s hair, right? C’mon we all love it!) So having the opportunity to finally experience them live for the first time was overwhelming. To say that I was excited would be an understatement, and I certainly wasn’t the only one.
The Brighton gig at the Concorde 2 was a quick sell out, not unexpected for a fairly intimate venue hosting a popular band. In fact, it’s worth mentioning that most Bastille tour dates have been sold out. Needless to say it was packed from wall to wall with a perhaps-not-so-surprising diverse age range of fans. Possibly the busiest I’ve ever seen it.
However, it must be said that the atmosphere was good-natured and buzzing with excitement and mutual respect for the artists soon to take stage.
Now comes the hard part, how to describe their performance? I don’t mean this in a negative way, but more in the way that love is hard to describe. I’ll attempt it, but you’ll really have to see for yourself one day. Bastille came on stage fairly promptly at 9:30pm and wasted no time launching straight into their first song Bad Blood. I think the first thought that struck me was how comparable the live performance was to the recorded track. These are some seriously talented musicians, and Dan’s voice is absurdly good (for want of a better word.) From the start their performance was full of vitality and life, engaging the audience without the need to ‘chat’ after every song. In fact, there wasn’t a whole lot of talking throughout the concert. When Dan did speak he appeared humble and seemed genuinely glad to be performing again in Brighton. Some people might begrudge a performer if they didn’t sit down and have a drawn-out conversation with the audience, but not in this case. Bastille engage with their fans in a different way. The passion and intensity these guys have for their music is tangible, and they have the exceptional ability of sharing this with the crowd. One fan I spoke to told me: “I have seen Bastille live before but tonight’s performance was amazing. They completely exceeded my expectations. I’m blown away by the bands talent and can’t wait for more from them. I will have their album on repeat for days!”
The set list was a mixture of tracks from their number one album, B-sides such as Poet, and a couple songs from their mash-up album Other People’s Heartache (go check this out and also Other People’s Heartache Part II if you haven’t already, pure genius!) The tracks transitioned beautifully with one another and by including their covers it meant there was something for every person to sing along to. Inevitably they left one of their most popular and widely recognised singles, Pompeii, until the end. During this they were rejoined by To Kill A King (one of their support acts) to sing the Lion King-esque backing track. They left the stage to deafening screams, and it took only a few seconds for the chant “We Want More” to begin. I’m pretty sure this was a sentiment felt strongly by everyone in the room. It wasn’t long until the boys came back to stage for their encore and smashed it with two more songs, the last of which was preceded by the chant “Flaws! Flaws! Flaws!”… So I don’t need to say what they left until the very end. This was when Dan descended into the corner of the crowd (which unfortunately I couldn’t see from somewhere in the middle of the room) but the vocals didn’t suffer.
The lighting was masterfully timed with the music, visually accompanying songs such as Icarus and Of The Night during powerful drum beats. The staging was excellent with the boys often coming forward to stand upon monitors, which elevated them and brought them closer to the audience. I felt this was the cherry on top of the already very delicious cake. I’m helpless to do anything but sing the praises of the quartet from London who have risen to fame so dramatically, but so deservedly, this year. All I can say is to do yourself a favour and keep an eye on future tour dates, because you sure won’t regret it!
Bastille will be back in Brighton on the 18th May as part of The Great Escape performing at the Brighton Dome. I know I’ll be there!