Bastille aren’t your average megastars.
They’re not super-chiselled sex symbols. They don’t have cheekbones you could cut cheese with, and you’re unlikely to see them bringing out a topless calendar any time soon.
Their songs aren’t superficial, or meaningless, or about everyday topics. They’re not songs about love, or loss, or even desperation; instead, they write about Greek mythology, Twin Peaks characters, and the Bible. Hell, their breakthrough hit is about a conversation between two courses in the immediate aftermath of the Vesuvius eruption:
You just wouldn’t get that with Liam Gallagher
They’re not obnoxious, they’re not arrogant, and there’s not even a hint of rudeness about them; in fact, you can quite easily imagine them offering to make you a cup of tea if you happened to stumble into their dressing room before a show. They’re the kind of pop stars you’d be happy to introduce your Mum to, and we like that a lot.
Let’s try and get to the bottom of this
So, they’re not sex symbols, they’re not ‘rock stars’, and they don’t write songs that are – on paper, at least – that easy to understand. What’s their appeal, then?
It’s simple, really
We’ve seen bands play to half-empty rooms the size of shoe boxes, and we’ve seen bands smash the roof off a tent the size of a small town. We’ve seen bands play in fields, we’ve seen bands play in fairs, and we’ve seen bands play in the streets. In short, we’ve seen enough live bands to know when a good one comes along.
What’s their appeal, then?
If you ask us, Bastille‘s appeal doesn’t lie in their looks. It doesn’t lie in any sort of ‘rock and roll mystique’, and it doesn’t lie in their knack for a catchy pop chorus. In our eyes, the appeal of Bastille lies in the fact that they’re just stupidly, absurdly, undeniably talented.
If you’ve ever seen them live, then you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. It’s rare to find a band who sound exactly the same live as they do on record, but Bastille really are one of those bands, and their set at the brilliant Apple Music Festival made this clear to us.
Their frontman is really, really good
We’re not sure how, and we’re not sure when, but Dan Smith has evolved into a bona-fide arena-ready frontman. Throughout the whole of the band’s Apple Music Festival set, we could barely take our eyes off him; in fact, we’re genuinely struggling to think of a moment where he stood still. When he wasn’t disappearing into the crowd, he was jumping, and when he wasn’t jumping he was dancing around the stage like a man possessed. In short, he was bloody brilliant.
Oh, and we need to take a moment to appreciate Dan’s dancing. Okay, so he repeatedly told us that he’s ‘the world’s worst dancer’, but we actually found him to be a joy to watch. Some might call it avant-garde, some might call it freestyle, and some might even go so far as to call it hilarious; either way, the sight of a six-foot-tall Englishman flailing around the stage while singing a song about a Twin Peaks character is something that we don’t think we’ll ever forget. Never change, Dan. Never change.
Their songs are made to be performed live
You could put on the greatest show the world has ever seen, but none of this matters if you don’t have any decent tunes to play. Fortunately, Bastille are never going to have this problem.
It’s as if their songs – and, in particular, those from their new album Wild World – were built to be performed live. Obviously, they’ve got the likes of Pompeii, Laura Palmer, and Of The Night, but their new album also happens to be pretty flippin’ good.
Indeed, of the night’s setlist, it’s the new tracks that stand out. Opener Send Them Off! is a hip-hop inspired jam that instantly took the roof off the Roundhouse, while not even a surprise cameo from Craig David could outshine Dan Smith‘s powerful vocals on the stadium-sized chorus of Fake It:
If you get the chance, you should go and see them
They’re heading off on a huge UK arena tour later this month, and we think you should head down to it. If their show at the Apple Music Festival is anything to go by, then we can safely say that you’re not going to regret it.