Gig Review by Nic Jones with Gig Photos by Jason Broadhurst

Bastille

Bastille have had one hell of a year. They’ve dominated the music charts, finding success and fans seemingly with ease and can even add winning Best British Breakthrough at The Brit Awards to their list of achievements to date. Given they only formed in 2010 it’s been a supersonic rise, mostly thanks to single ‘Pompeii’ which became a wide reaching hit upon release in early 2013. Can their live show live up to the reputation that precedes them though?

Angel Haze

Angel Haze

Support act Angel Haze is there to warm the crowd up and turns out to be an intriguing artist. An undoubtedly talented rapper, she certainly adds an element of cool to proceedings. Her cover of Beyonce’s ‘Drunk In Love’ is a curious number to include, given the fame and mastery in Beyonce’s performances of the song over the past month or two, but it somehow works. Haze has enough impact to make you want to learn more about what she’s saying, and her energy is vibrant enough to hold attention. She works the stage of the Apollo to the maximum, jumping on speakers and down from the stage almost into the crowd, enthralling the room. It’s a polished set which serves as a strong prelude to the main event.

Bastille

As the stage goes dark to prepare for Bastille’s entrance, the crowd is more than ready for them; screams echoing off every wall with the opening drum beats of ‘Bad Blood’. Bastille fans prove one thing from the word go; that they are incredibly dedicated. The constant screams and singing along to every single word show that with their debut album this group have captured the imaginations of many. The entire set is accompanied by a stunning light show fit for a band with serious arena ambitions. It’s a display that starts off as enthralling but eventually becomes distracting, and I find my eyes looking for a rest from it after not too long.

Bastille

Bastille are a talented group, full of energy and clearly giving their all on stage, each member running around between different instruments throughout and jumping along as they do so. The only real critique here is that the music is a tad formulaic. If you’re not a fan of their sound it could all become tiring after five or six songs, but then if you’ve listened to the album you probably know that already and you know if you like Bastille or not. That said, there are some moments which stand out from the rest. ‘Icarus’, ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ and ‘Laura Palmer’ are all solidly performed anthems, sounding better live than they do on the album.

Bastille

This is a very visual band. It seems like every drumbeat has a corresponding choreographed move designed to make for a stunning visual show. They’re also all about audience involvement. During one number singer Daniel Campbell Smith runs around the stage with a camera, capturing the audience and his band mates who are all then projected onto the triangular background screen. It’s the live music show for the GoPro generation and it is undeniably cool. During ‘Flaws’ Smith even (is somewhat fairly daringly) walks across the middle of the crowd. With everyone pushing to get a glimpse of him it looks more painful than empowering, but it’s a charming effort to make the fans feel part of the show. And that’s one thing that Bastille seem to have a lot of: charm.

Bastille

By the time the encore of ‘Of the Night’ and ‘Pompeii’ comes around, it’s extremely difficult not to be won over by Bastille. The former is a mashup of two feel good classics which would have any room dancing, regardless of the version played but the latter shows that Bastille have created a true classic. ‘Pompeii’ is a great tune and performed live it lives up its hopeful euphoria. There’s no resisting the pull of it, it’s the kind of song every band should wish to be able to finish their live show with.

Bastille

Bastille have created a very slick, coordinated live experience, encompassing sound and visuals and providing not just a show but a real experience. That said, as I leave I can’t help but wonder, what would they be like without all the extras? What if they only had their music to rely on, and simply played their instruments without all the distraction? After this performance, that is something I’d be interested to check out.

Bastille

Check out Bastille on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

Bastille

(See the complete photo set on our Flick page)

One Response to “Bastille + Angel Haze at the O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK – 1st March 2014”

  1. Review for Gig Junkies – Bastille | NavigatorNic Says:

    […] Bastille + Angel Haze at the O2 Apollo, Manchester, UK – 1st March 2014 […]

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