Here’s a bold statement: we think that it’s genuinely impossible for anyone to not enjoy a Bastille gig.
Sit down, dear reader, and let us explain. See, it’s not often that you can go to a gig and honestly claim that there’s ‘something for everyone’. If you went to a Justin Bieber concert, for instance, your fifteen-year-old sister would probably have a wonderful time. Your fifty-year-old father? Not so much.
If we head to the other end of the musical spectrum, then we’re sure that it’d be the same story with a Bruce Springsteen show. Your forty-year-old Mum would be having the time of her life, screaming along to every note of Born In The U.S.A. until her little middle-aged lungs collapsed. Your seven-year-old cousin, however – sitting there in earplugs, with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face for the full three hours – probably wouldn’t have such a fun evening.
Bastille, on the other hand, are different.
They’re not a ‘band for kids’, nor are they the kind of Dad-rock that makes teenagers run a mile. They’re not cheesy, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. Indeed, after seeing their show at Cornwall’s gorgeous Eden Project, we’re convinced that Bastille are genuinely one of the few acts around today whose live shows can be enjoyed by anyone.
For a start, they’ve got the pop hits. Their breakthrough single Pompeii was unavoidable when it first came out, and the likes of Flaws, Good Grief, Things We Lost In The Fire, and Laura Palmer have since proved that they’re anything but a one-hit wonder. They’re big, they’re buoyant, and they’re brilliantly catchy pop songs – so, that’s the kids sorted.
‘But wait!’, we hear you cry?
‘What about the long-suffering Dad, who had to sit through Pompeii on Radio 1 every day on the school run for the entirety of 2014!?’. Well, fortunately for him, Bastille have also made two albums that are packed full of more arena-filling rock anthems than a Top Gear compilation CD. You may not have heard them on the radio, but songs like Fake It, Bad Blood, Two Evils, and The Currents – which, incidentally, was the highlight of the band’s Eden Project show – are some of the best-written indie-pop songs you’ve heard for a long time. He might begrudge it, but we guarantee that Dad will find himself humming along to a chorus or two by the end of the gig.
It probably helps, too, that they’re a ridiculously good live band.
We’ve talked about this in depth before, so we won’t go into too much detail here – after all, if you want to hear us eulogising over Bastille’s live prowess, all you have to do is check out our review of their show from last year’s Apple Music Festival. What we will say, though, is that Dan Smith remains one of the most intensely likeable frontmen – and, we must say, one of the strongest live vocalists – in modern pop music, and his oft-discussed ‘dance’ moves never fail to be anything short of a joy to behold. It’s rare that you get to see a lanky Englishman dancing to pop music in the shadow of The Eden Project’s biomes, but frankly it’s something that we’d like to see a lot more of.
Indeed, what probably helped at the Eden Project show is the sheer beauty of the venue.
Correct us if we’re wrong, but we think that it’s pretty flippin’ hard for anyone to not enjoy a gig when the venue looks like this:
So, they’ve got the hits, they’ve got the talent, and they know how to put on a live show.
The kids can sing along to the pop hits. The Mum can dance along to the music, and go absolutely nuts when they play their (rather brilliant) cover of Rhythm Of The Night. And, finally, the Dad can nod in begrudging appreciation at just how flippin’ good Dan Smith‘s voice is.
That, reader, is why we firmly believe that a Bastille show is one that can be enjoyed by everyone; and, more importantly, we think that it’s a pretty major reason as to why they’re currently one of the biggest bands in the country. They write great pop songs, and they perform them well. They’re fun, and engaging, and they don’t try to be something they’re not.
What’s not to like?