Words: Iman Mia
Seven years since the London-based, four-piece, Bastille came to be, two Grammy nominations and one Brit Award later, the group’s second album “Wild World” is doing greater than ever…
Helmed by lead singer Daniel Smith, Bastille’s “Pompeii” off their 2013 debut album, “Bad Blood” skyrocketed the band to international stardom after spending a staggering 53 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.
Clearly no strangers to commercial successes, the Indie-rockers are now bringing their music to the world in a huge and WILD way; with their Wild, Wild World Tour (aptly named after their second album) seeing them trot the globe to enthral audiences the world over…
And I was lucky enough to see them (in all their English glory) at Botanical Gardens last Friday.
Platinum-selling, Congolese, singer-songwriter Tresor – famous for his successful collaborations with Beatenberg such as “Zambezi” and “Never Let Me Go”, amongst others – opened the show; after which my absolute favourite South African musician, Matthew Mole performed.
In my personal opinion it was not the best performance I’ve ever seen by Tresor but I do believe that his band was absolutely phenomenal and that they completely covered for him where his vocals fell short.
Mole, accompanied by Gangs of Ballet drummer, Josh Klynsmith, was absolutely mind-blowing as always. In spite of me being biased, Mole actually held the audience’s attention throughout his set and had them singing away to familiar favourites such as “Light”, “Run” and of course, “Take Yours, I’ll Take Mine.”
As is his signature he closed his set by hitting a drum literally held up to him by members of the audience and we were, as always, captivated, as water from inside the drum splashed out and onto us as the last chords of the song echoed in our ears.
The production of the show as a whole, however, fell short of expectation so far as set changes were concerned as without upbeat background music and/or an entertaining enough MC, the audience grew restless between the acts and the energy of the crowd somewhat dwindled whilst waiting in anticipation of the next performer whilst instruments were tuned and changed.
However, there was a completely palpable change in this lack of energy from the very moment Bastille took the stage, opening their one-and-a-half hour set with “Send Them Off!” an up-tempo hip-hopesque Wild World single with rocker appeal.
Smith and fellow musicians, Kyle Simmons, Will Farquarson and Chris “Woody” Wood’s thick South Londoner accents resonate throughout the song and for anyone who loves the Brit sound; their entire repertoire is a real treat.
I can’t claim to have been a die-hard Bastille fan before actually seeing them live as I really knew no more than a handful of songs upon my arrival at their show; but after truly seeing them in reality I can honestly say that Bastille are 100 percent worth the hype and all 495 Rands that their ticket set back the common man.
They effortlessly blended old crowd favourites such as “Of The Night” and “Things We Lost In The Fire” with their new songs such as “Glory” and my new favourites “Warmth” and “Good Grief.”
Of “Good Grief”, Smith says that he “wanted to write about how bizarre grief and loss are – the layers of depression, shock and euphoria, how mad the process can be…” in hopes that it will “make people feel good “and in my own opinion I believe it really does as, as a band they’ve been able to effortlessly blend melancholy words with an incredible juxtaposition in the song’s upbeat tempo.
Not only are their songs all well written, interlinking the band’s influences – such as Shakespearian quotes and anecdotes from Smith’s life, amongst others into their work – but they are also all well crafted in that the instrumentals never outshine the lead vocals nor do Smith’s vocals ever overpower his band-mates’ instruments.
Having seen many international headliners such as The Script, John Legend and even Justin Bieber, I am absolutely in awe of Bastille. Despite their astronomical successes the group was humble, interactive and completely engrossed in their own performance. They are by far the best live musicians I have ever seen and despite the open-air acoustics their music live, was arguably even better than their studio-recorded album!
Smith, whose parents were born in Durban also performed an ode to our city in “Durban Skies” for the first time, a song inspired by listening to his parents’ stories of where they grew up and as they were both actually present in the audience last Friday it was certainly a poignant moment for all.
The Wild, Wild World Tour cannot be over rated in my eyes. Bastille (whose moniker refers to Bastille Day, 14th July and birthday of lead vocalist Dan Smith) truly put on a spectacular, high-energy and world-class performance and in spite of the certain lacklustre aspects of the show as a whole on account of rough set changes; Bastille themselves were phenomenal.
Through smoothly blending their old music with the new, their sad songs with the happier ones and of course their ridiculously attractive British accents with our hoarse South African ones (as we shouted out their lyrics right back at them) Bastille truly proved that they are a first class force to be reckoned with!
They ARE amazing.
I am now Officially one of their biggest fans
And their music truly was perfect for the Rhythm of my Night.