Bastille At The 3Arena – Review
Bastille are the classic example of an overnight success, their rise to fame was thanks to their 2013 chart-topping single, ‘Pompei’ and the subsequent release of their number one album All This Bad Blood. These indie boys went from performing in venues like the Academy to selling out stadiums, on the back of just two albums. While that might be intimidating for some fledgling bands, Bastille had no problems in handling the immensity of the 3Arena in Dublin.
The crowd was perfectly warmed-up thanks to the support of Rationale and Keywest, two perfect accompaniments to the melancholic croonings of Bastille. However, once Keywest left the stage the delay was almost too much. With a half hour loop of a parody of a newsreader, all four screens were filled with the mutterings of this character, which came off as rather annoying and bland, rather than entertaining. By 9.15pm, the audience was growing understandably impatient, everyone had come to get away from newscasters delivering bad news and just listen to the indie-rock musings of the London four-piece.
When the band finally emerged, there was an overwhelming roar from the audience – the boys burst into their hit tracks, ‘Send Them Off’ and ‘Laura Palmer’, which instantly lifted the roof off the arena. The energy was tangible; lead singer Dan Smith was lost in the moment, his rhythmic dancing was as admirable as his singing was, rife with enthusiasm. It quickly became apparent that the band have had no issue making the transition from small stages to European tours, they command the stage as their own and handle the crowd like seasoned pros. The support of a string and brass section is not only the mark of a successful band but it also adds to the whole sound experience, it moves from being just being a show and moves towards being an experience.
There was never a lull in the performance, from start to finish, while Bastille may be renowned for their emotive songs (lead singer Dan is eager to constantly remind us that the themes of their songs are ‘depressing’) the vigour never recedes. In fact, when they perform tracks like ‘Flaws’, the Smith begins to snake his way through the crowd, eagerly being clawed at by screaming hordes of fans – in spite of what Bastille think, this show is anything but depressing, each track is met with the same excited energy.
However, the real performance doesn’t begin until two-thirds of the way through the show, songs likes ‘Bad Blood’ and ‘Of The Night’ instantly bring the house down. ‘Of The Night’ has the entire audience, both on the ground and in the seats, on their feet, hands in the air, not giving a damn – as the lead singer eagerly tells them to ‘get down’ and make him feel better about his own dancing for three minutes. How Smith engages with the audience is really what brings the show to life, he’s constantly coyly saying ‘thank you’ almost seeming surprised that the band are receiving such a positive response; he admits his own dancing is dodgy, and he just seems to really enjoy jamming with his bandmates – it’s refreshing and charming.
Their latest hit off of their Wild World album, ‘Good Grief’, is met with the same rapturous response as Dan weaves throughout the crowd for a second time. The energy is just unrelenting, and although it’s a Thursday, everyone’s suddenly ready for the weekend. The band walk off stage and yet everyone knows that their biggest hit, ‘Pompeii’ is yet to be performed – it seems predictable and still no one seems to mind once they re-emerge and perform it. To counteract the obviousness of their encore, the lights move to the rafters where Dan and guitarist, Will Farquarson, are sitting back to back over fifty feet over a fire exit stairwell to perform ‘Two Evils’. Mimicking their descent from the clouds back to stage-level, the band perform ‘Icarus’ which is met with equal enthusiasm from the audience that knows what’s coming. Closing with ‘Pompeii’, it’s safe to say the show is perfectly well-rounded, bringing their support acts back out onto the stage and inviting the audience to sing along, its clear the band haven’t forgotten their humble beginnings since their first performance in Dublin. The finale is jubilant and pitch-perfect, highlighting that this is just the beginning of a noteworthy career for Bastille.
Picture: Bastille performing at Longitude 2014. Photo by Tudor Marian