Bastille | Komedia, Brighton 18/10/12
Walking into a basement full of teenagers in skeleton masks is a slightly disconcerting way to start your night, however from revisiting the morbid video for Bastille’s “Flaws” earlier that day at least I knew I was in the right place. The South London quartet’s inventive pop-tronica has been receiving a flurry of justified attention in recent months, with steady rotation on Radio One’s daytime playlist and a string of praised festival appearances, being named by many as “ones to watch” after only two single releases. Bastille could be playing to much bigger crowds than Brighton’s Komedia can hold, but the eruption of noise that bounced off the room’s low ceilings as they took to the stage would lead one to think they were playing to a crowd double it’s 400 person capacity.
Bastille bring a primordial vigour to their live shows yet still retain a graceful sense of control. Ferocious group drumming is pleasantly set off against intricate arpeggiated synths to compliment Dan Smith’s musing falsetto, producing a lavish sound that engrosses the whole room immediately. It’s clear from the offset that the predominantly adolescent crowd is made up almost entirely of dedicated followers, with the enthusiasm of your standard One Direction fan and a look resembling a Topshop stockroom. The word-perfect knowledge of every song from many is a testament to not only the easy access to unreleased music via the Internet, but the emotional affect this band has the potential to inflict.
Tracks from their forthcoming album stick to the grandiose pop style Bastille have adopted and sound strong against the past singles, though fans won’t be able to hear them in their recorded splendor until March next year. The tight harmonies of breakthrough track “Bad Blood” are intensified in a live environment, making it all the more resonant when accompanied by an abundance of hand-formed “triangles” from the crowd, matching the modest stage decoration. A pre-encore performance of current single “Flaws” sees them further invigorate a crowd at their peak, whilst Smith dons a hoodie and immerses himself in the audience with ecstatic results. The four piece also delve into their reinterpreted covers mixtape “Other People’s Heartache” to flaunt their influences with a version of Corona’s “Rhythm Of The Night” to close the set in dynamic fashion.
For a band that have not yet released a debut album Bastille have a remarkably refined live show, which will only get better as they release new material. If you get a chance to see this band live, take it.