If you haven’t heard of Bastille, I would have to accuse you of hibernating since the end of the summer, as Bastille have enjoyed an omnipotent radio presence ever since. In recent months, they have scored a number 1 in the Album Charts and a number 2 in the top 40, with only the likes of Justin Timberlake holding them back. So I half expect this to be an emotional tour, as Bastille are now realising the impact of their success and based on their meteoric rise over the last 6 months, I think this will be the smallest venue they will play this year.
Currently touring with To Kill A King, responsible for the backing vocals on (Bastilles biggest hit to date) Pompeii, I am sure they will share the stage together at some point. Also known for their collaborations Bastille and To Kill a King have featured on each others EPs and musical ventures. I think this could be pretty special!
An early start and the first support is The Ramona Flowers, who have a slow indie vibe, with some pretty hard Beats. The vocal and the drums are strong, and through each song there is plenty of ‘whah whah’, but not enough ‘oomph’! It feels like putting on your running kit and going for a stroll in the park, they have all good intentions, but it goes nowhere. As they hit heir last song, it does sound more promising with a SBTRKT style backdrop, But with all the energy of Travis ballad. They have so much promise!! The lead singer has a great voice, the band is musically cohesive, but they lack overall impact.
There is a different atmosphere, as To Kill A King takes to the stage and incites a few whoops of delight from the packed room. Silence descends as they open with ‘Gasp’, a track from their recently released album. It is a gentle acoustic start, in to full on thrashing guitars. They bring a kind of alternative folk rock, which proudly and purposefully veers in to other genres. This is a band with heart, soul and passion in abundance. Launching in to ‘Howling’, everyone is clapping along with the drum rhythm, but this is the track where the keys excel. Even stripped back to pure acoustic, there is more impact than the previous band.
They have a little chat and introduce Bastille to the stage for ‘Choices’, a collaboration from Ralph’s balcony sessions. There are screams as Dan, wearing his TKAK ‘fan boy’ t-shirt, sheepishly walks up to the mic, with the rest of Bastille taking refuge behind Ian on lead guitar. It goes down a storm and the crowd sing back every word! Bastille exit the stage and To Kill A King drop in to Cold Skin, with heckles of ‘I Love you’. But my lasting memory, is of Jon on drums, shouting at Ian (who is clearly loving every minute) ‘YEAH…GO ON!!’ as they finish with the spectacular instrumental climax of ‘Fictional State’. Very capable musicians and my tip for something bigger…watch this space.
As expected, the floor fills to capacity for Bastille. The lights rise and the screams reach a phenomenal level, as Bastille enter and open with ‘Bad Blood’, the title track from their album. Listening to everyone singing, I realise, I must be the only one in the room who doesn’t own this yet! They move confidently through their earlier tracks, each is met with a wave of delight and further screams. Dan bounces around like he is on springs, occasionally beating the electronic drum, placed front of stage.
Bastille are in their element, performing stripped back to just vocal and beats, delivering an impeccable version of ‘Laura Palmer’. That boy can hold a note! They take the tempo down for ‘Oblivion’, the sparse nature highlights the stunning vocal, before launching in to the infectious ‘Things we lost in the fire’, dispersing an energy that spills off the stage and envelops the crowd. Even with my back pressed up against the wall, the atmosphere is incredible! Once again, lifting the room, they drop in additional beats for ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’; creating a phenomenal sound as the entire band, like witches round a cauldron, strike a drum front of stage. It is at this point, they welcome To Kill A King to the stage for Pompeii, creating the biggest sing-along of the night. It is an incredible and dynamic performance, the lights dim and they exit the stage.
The crowd start stamping their feet like petulant teenagers, Bastille return quickly, for fear of a stampede. They perform ‘Get home’, which seems poignant and more beautiful, before Dan pulls up his hood and jumps into the crowd during ‘Flaws’. He makes it back to the stage and the room erupted. You cannot deny this bands talent, or their ability to restore faith in modern day pop music. Single-handedly retrieving it from the clutches of the auto-tuned, talentless, manufactured shite producing, pr machines forced down our throats. They provide Pure and unadulterated pop perfection.
What a show boys!! One of my favourite gigs of the year so far!