Anyone who has followed Bastille’s meteoric rise to fame over the past three years will know that their latest UK tour is their most ambitious yet. The last time they toured in Scotland they played at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, so you would be forgiven for thinking this jump to the SSE Hydro may be a little too demanding for their catchy indie-pop sound. I certainly thought so when first I saw they were playing this venue.
But I am never disappointed by Bastille, and this concert was another example of that. To keep the crowd interested in a venue of this size they had to put on a real show, and that they did. Giant screens around the stage counted down the minutes until Bastille’s performance began, so by the time the four-piece entered the crowd was riled up and ready to go.
Quietly charismatic frontman Dan Smith introduced the band, and then they were off with ‘Send Them Off!’, an energetic song from their new album ‘Wild World’. However, their previous album ‘Bad Blood’ was not ignored – they played enough of their earlier songs to keep their audience happy, as well as a couple of tunes from their album re-release ‘All This Bad Blood’. The addition of strings and brass added some extra bite to their older hits, and helped their sound to fill the 13,000-capacity arena.
Those looking to get away from this past week’s political hell storm didn’t find solace at this gig. The overarching theme of ‘Wild World’ is the media struggling to report on an increasing chaotic world – very timely after Brexit and the US presidential elections. The screens played fictional news broadcasts during the set to hit this point home. Overly political Dan even dedicated their song ‘The Currents’ to “that orange man” – lyrics include:
“How can you think you’re serious?
Do you even know what year it is?
I can’t believe the scary points you make”
Despite the awkwardness all bands have touring their ‘difficult second album’, Bastille really got the crowd going with catchy singles ‘Fake It’ and ‘Good Grief’. By the time keyboardist Kyle starting swigging from a bottle of Buckfast, they had the Scottish crowd eating out of their hand. Their winning combination of exciting new hits, old classics and the endearing graciousness of the band kept the audience keen right up until they finished the set with their hit single ‘Pompeii’.
Glasgow was the penultimate date of their UK tour, and Bastille carried on their enthusiasm right through to their second last show. They certainly lived up to the prestige of the Hydro – I find it hard to imagine them now playing the smaller venues they have graced on their previous tours. Their new album may be a little edgier than ‘Bad Blood’, but their live performances remain as polished as ever – no matter the size of venue.