Bastille | 12.13.13

bastille 75If I thought I was impressed before, now my idolatry was complete.





The Point Ho Ho Show
The Pageant, St. Louis

bastille 500


This may have been Phoenix’s headline, but Bastille received an equally warm welcome even before they took the stage. A loud cheer rang out as Point DJ Lux welcomed the sold-out crowd and announced that Bastille would be right up. Following the strains of the Twin Peaks theme song (if you don’t know why this is relevant, read on), the London quartet walked on stage and dove into “Bad Blood” from their brilliant, recently released debut album of the same name. Front man Dan Smith—and the band’s founder and original sole member—employed bouncing and dancing (indie-rock style, of course) to complement his heavenly vocals.

The refrains in “Things We Lost in the Fire” were accompanied by Smith banging on toms, percussive accompaniment he would add throughout the set. After a brief hello to the audience, Smith and Co. delivered the hauntingly gorgeous “Overjoyed,” the reason I fell in love with Bastille over a year before they released the album (see my Top 10 Songs of 2012). There were no guitars on this song; instead, everyone stepped forward, Kyle Simmons and William Farquarson on keys and backing vocals, and Chris Wood away from his kit and before a drum machine. The crowd was on its feet and yelling, singing along in sheer enjoyment. Smith showcased his pure voice on an a cappella introduction to “The Silence,” with galloping drums soon lifting the song to perfection.

Following a somewhat obscure cover—with a truly captivating lyric recitation and haunting key line—was “Laura Palmer” (get the Twin Peaks connection now?). Although there isn’t a single bad track on Bad Blood, this one perhaps edges ahead for its swirling, addictive sound. Smith paced; he reached; he thumped; he soared. Next was a new track, accented by beautiful vocal work and whoa-oa’s, and the band really tearing loose at the end. A recorded intro and major drumbeats introduced “Icarus,” which grew from a sing-along into a clap-along. “Flaws” saw Smith in the crowd, parting the waters before reaching the rail and walking atop it, mic in hand.

And then there was “Pompeii.” If you know nothing else by Bastille (and it’s time to remedy this, if so), you know this song. It’s got Greek choruses, an infectious dance beat, and soaring vocals. What struck me most tonight was that only two band members—Simmons and Farquarson—were responsible for the big, chorus-y sound. Only two! If I thought I was impressed before, now my idolatry was complete. Bastille made the big sound small on the bridge, reining in the huge vocals and percussion and spotlighting a simple piano, before exploding again into one last clap-along. “Thanks for the hospitality,” said Smith gracefully as the band bid their farewells. But don’t worry: They’ll be back. And next time it will be their headline, no one else’s. | Laura Hamlett

All photos by SEWjackjawIII


Set List

1. Bad Blood
2. Things We Lost in the Fire
3. Overjoyed
4. The Silence
5. What Would You Do?
6. Laura Palmer
7. The Draw
8. Icarus
9. Flaws
10. Pompeii

[cincopa AMMA1arbGoib]

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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