Bastille In Review
Arriving early at Grand West, I find a neat little queue at the entrance; a couple of hardcore Cape Town fans, ranging from school girls to working-class guys in skinny jeans, patiently waits for the doors to open for the Bastille show. The UK band has spoiled their South African supporters with the announcement of a second tour to the country.
The chart-topping band performed, about three years ago, at two sold-out shows in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. I missed both, but the 5-piece got great reviews after the concerts. This time, they were back with 3 massive shows in the Mother City, Johannesburg and Durban.
The night is still very young, as the doors open and upcoming Cape Town band, Opposite the Other, appears on stage as the first opening act. The early birds quickly settle in scattered groups around the big arena as the young band kicks of the night. It seems like they’ve already made a name for themselves since they’ve started in 2015, as the crowd sings along and cheers after each song. They surprise with a good, solid set, showcasing plenty of talent, and quickly win a few more young girls’ hearts.
Following the young four-piece is local heavyweight Matthew Mole. He appears on stage in a bright pink shirt, matching drummer, Josh Klynsmith. The two offer the crowd, who are seemingly massive fans, a set mostly consisting of his well-known songs. They then spoil them by bringing onstage a massive drum that he places in the middle of the audience; it’s a beautiful scene and a great end to his set.
After a bit of a wait, Bastille hits the stage and the audience breaks out in united cheer. They open with “Send them Off”. It’s a treat for the crowd, as the whole production and energy in the arena turn up a notch. I stand against the barriers on the far-right of the stage, and bend over to catch a glimpse of the band’s hardcore fans. Clad in full Bastille merch, the front row screams out the lyrics with frontman Dan Smith word-for-word. Dan answers back with a high-powered performance; making use of the entire stage, and jumping into the crowd, grabbing the sea of hands.
The band supports him in every way, interacting and enjoying their performance; they’re experienced, and they know it.
Bastille doesn’t let their fans down for one moment, doesn’t shy away from old or new tracks, and offers a well-rounded, world-class show. They are backed by somewhat abstract TV-style visuals on a screen behind them. It brings an interesting dimension to their set.
From start to finish the show is filled with energy, as they mix indie rock with bits of electro elements, and an abundance of interaction with the crowd. Their performance of “Durban Skies” is an emotional one and a highlight of the night.
Of course, just like they’ve started on a high note, they end off with “Pompeii”, and make the audience’s night complete.
Music promoters, We are Live, offered a fantastic night for Bastille fans. I was impressed by the organisation and look forward to some of their future productions.