Bastille at the O2 ArenaCultureMusicLive music
Bastille have proven themselves heavy weights in the music industry, with two hugely successful albums and by winning the 2014 British Breakthrough Act at the Brits. They deserved the O2. Sitting next to each other but unrelated, a gentleman north of 60 and a little chap no older than six years of age were rocking out with vigour proving just how undeniable the band’s universal appeal is.
Introduced by a newsreader on looming screens, Bastille stormed the stage in a flood of red light, opening with Send Them Off, a song dominated by a Hypnotic Brass Ensemble-esque riff that drew the crowd in. The Chris Martin-like frontman Dan Smith – singer and songwriter – managed to do the impossible and create a sense of intimacy in the cavernous venue. At one point during the show he walked through the crowd, revealing a welcome humbleness to the chart-topping band.
The ensemble delivered hits such as Bad Blood and Of the Night as well as songs form their latest album Wild World: Power and Good Grief. Backed by an elegant string duo and a thick, heavy brass trio, Bastille carefully mirrored the sounds created on the records, which displayed the precision and attention to detail the musicians are capable of.
A theme of dystopia permeated the show, with imagery of the atomic bomb, war and surveillance used. This Orwellian take, at times, felt a little out of place, especially next to major-key poppy tunes such as Snakes. Though not always fitting, the theme was clearly well intentioned, and extremely relevant. It showed that the five-piece have something to say about their “wild word”.
What sets Bastille apart from their contemporaries though is their thick wall of sound. The Gaelic-inspired chants featured in songs such as their biggest hit to date, Pompeii, make for a sumptuous musical experience, not too dissimilar to an all-male choir. That’s not to say the show didn’t feature some of Bastille’s trademark “depressing songs” – as Smith lovingly referred to them. Tracks like Oblivion were sung with reverence that captured the audience completely.
The quintet delivered a personal, yet powerful show, proving that they are capable of both stadium-filling anthems, right down to far more emotive and inner songs. It’s this variety that bites back at previous criticisms of lacking any, showing the band are pushing forward at an exciting pace.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Bastille and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Send Them Off here: