Apple Music Festival 2016: Bastille
The second week of the Apple Music Festival got into its stride with Bastille, a band that has seen a remarkable rise over the last few years. They have also found an ability to carve themselves a niche, despite being very much a party to the electro pop-dominated scene that has continued unabated since the dawn of the decade.
Frontman Dan Smith is the mastermind behind the outfit, and it shows. He looks more like a producer than a rock star and is agreeable to a tee. He strikes you as someone who is just so happy to show his songs to people that enjoy them, and during every one, he bounces around the stage indecorously like he is suffering continuous electric shocks, clearly indicating his distaste for overwrought stage presence.
The band begins with Send Them Off!, its thumping chorus of “exorcise my mind” lodging quickly in your brain. This is one of the catchier songs from their recent new album, Wild World, which dominates the night. Something of a concept album, the backdrop to the stage is a series of alternating images, buzzing and flickering in the manner of a television broadcast. The images are of stock market listings, news reports, and other visual reportage – that speak of, as Smith says, “the world being messed up” – and are all broadcast under the ensign of “Wild World Communications”. In doing so, the whole show is almost a collage of sound and vision; it is as much art in the traditional sense as musical craftsmanship.
Lead single Good Grief shows the band at the height of their powers, accompanied by a brass section and with its shout-out chorus, while the haunting Four Walls demonstrates their more pensive side. There is even a bizarre but supremely enjoyable cameo from none other than Craig David, who helps out on Fake It then treats the audience to his classic, Fill Me In. The set ends with a rousing rendition of Pompeii – still the karaoke classic whose “oh-oh” refrain gets the entire room chanting.
It is a packed set for little over an hour, and it feels like something of a party. Bastille will never have the rock ‘n’ roll chops of some of their similar-sounding contemporaries, nor will they occupy the solidly pop space in which so many have taken up comfortable residence. They do have their own niche, and with Smith at the helm, Bastille look to be in good hands – their live show is infectious, staying with you through the tube journey home and long afterwards.
Photos: Apple Music Festival 10, London 2016
For further information about Bastille and future events visit here.
Apple Music Festival 2016 is on at the Roundhouse until 30th September 2016, for further information visit here.