In barely six months Bastille have gone from playing to a half-full Stanley Theatre hidden away underneath the University’s Guild, to selling out the prestigious O2 Academy, armed with a debut album 'Bad Blood', a beastly light-show and an eager, loyal fan base ready to sing back every lyric and jump at every drum beat.
Last week saw the London four-piece embark on their biggest headline tour to date, with this being the first night of it. In many bands that would inspire nerves culminating in an awkward, regimented stage presence as they focused entirely on hitting the next note. But not Bastille. From the word go, they looked at ease, sharing smiles, jokes and dances between each other, all the while appearing overwhelmed at the reaction they were receiving: “I just can’t believe how many of you have actually turned out,” remarked frontman Dan Smith.
It’s not surprising, however, because Bastille certainly have the songs to demand such a reaction, which was evident when the band played early single ‘Bad Blood’ as the second song of the night. They now have a repertoire that spans an album, singles, and a incredible selection of covers released on two mixtapes ('Other People’s Heartache' Parts I and II). From which, ‘What Would You Do?’ and ‘Of The Night’ sent a ripple of excited recognition through the crowd and soon the back of the room was as lively as the front. The fun and joy evident on their faces was envious.
But they were just sideshows to the main act. Little digressions; treats, shall we say? It was the consistency between inception tracks such as ‘Icarus’ and their latest single ‘Pompeii’ that really showed the band’s ability to combine bounding beats and chanting lyrics with infectious effect. This versatility to remodel pop classics and bring them up to date, whilst also delivering a more than capable album, means that 2013 looks set to continue to be Bastille’s year.
Smith a co. may have appeared all modest and shy: “I’m not very good at speaking in between songs so apologies in advance,” Smith said. However, practice makes perfect, and Bastille will be getting plenty of practice this year.
Words by Luke Nightingale
Photos by David Howarth