Full disclosure: I don’t particularly like ‘Bad Blood’, Bastille’s latest album. As a mix between electronica and formulaic indie pop, each song feels like two incomplete halves as opposed to one complete whole. Everything is very polished and refined, but although it is an excellently produced album, there is nothing in it raw or visceral. It’s not a bad album, but it completely fails to move me.
However, Bastille are fantastic live. Ironically the same issues that keep me from enjoying the album are the things that make Bastille such a good live act. The same simple electronic beats that seem kind of lame on the album become pulsating when accompanied with the energy of a live gig, the same generic pop lyrics that fall so flat coming from a stereo become almost anthem like when chanted by a thousand ironic-sweater-clad hipsters. Somewhere between feet-moving beats and easy listening pop, Bastille have found a sweet spot that make for a fantastic show.
Possibly one of the reasons that Bastille came in to their own on stage is because they genuinely seemed to love performing for their fans. Being new to fame, it is perhaps still something of a novelty that people would want to come and see them perform, let alone enough to fill up the 1,500 person capacity of 53 degrees. And seeing the band take a genuine delight in performing for their fans gave the whole event a new energy, and a warmth perhaps lacking from bands already hardened to the stage.
Although being so new to the game also has its drawbacks. Being a little inexperienced the band initially struggled to command such a large room. The first few songs of Bastille’s set failed to create even the smallest activity in the crowd. However it only took a few tracks until everybody was moving. Though the gig was a slow-starter it eventually grew to what I felt was the gig highlight, an energy filled and explosive cover of ‘The Rhythm of the Night’ by Corona, which had every arm up in the air.
Though I wouldn’t buy the album, I would not hesitate to go and see Bastille again. Though the show took a few songs to get going, and the songs themselves leave something to be desired, Bastille put on one hell of a show.
Album: 2/5 Live 4/5
By Charlie Craven