11 July 2023 (gig)
13 July 2023
The year is 2013, and it’s a pivotal time in music for young alternative bands. Their music permeates tumblr culture and slowly creeps its way into the mainstream airways. It’s the year I hone my music taste and spend hours consuming new music and dissecting lyrics. It’s the year I first hear Bastille’s Bad Blood debut album.
Now 10 years later, Bastille has embarked on their Bad Blood X Tour to play their debut tracks from front to back. If you know the track list, you know the setlist - and that the crowd did, singing along to every word. The show started with a string of old video clips as the band walked out to applause, the pinnacle of course when frontman Dan Smith entered and launched into “Pompeii”. As the band’s number one single, it’s usually a clear closer. Instead, it set the energetic precedence for the night.
They worked their way down the tracklist - through the ever present sad lyrics yet varying musical tones of Bad Blood. The only interruptions were the interludes of past videos (tour dates, tattoos, tire changes, and more) and Dan’s appreciative speeches. From the fan who invited him to their wedding, to the one who had a tattoo of Dan’s face, there was an ever present feeling of real community between band and fan.
Once the final (hidden) track from the album was played, it was open season on what songs were to come in the Beyond Bad Blood section - now glaring in 80s video game font on the screen. And things started off with an exuberant reception to sophomore album’s “Good Grief” - my personal favorite release from the band to date. I gleefully jumped up and down with the crowd to the apocalyptic track, thrilled with my luck and in anticipation for the rest of the surprise tracks…
Unfortunately, this section was a miss for me. The harmonies in their cover “No Angels” (a mix between TLC’s No Scrubs and The XX’s Angels) were lackluster, and the revised chorus of Happier didn’t have the same infectious dance beat. If the encore had a highlight, it was the track “The Draw”. It’s become a cult classic for fans of the band, who raise their hands into a triangle and pulse it during the chorus - proving the encore minutes would have been better spent on Bad Blood’s extended tracks. I for one am still waiting for a live version of Durban Skies.
Despite my critiques of the Beyond Bad Blood encore, this was a show I would not want to miss. The pure nostalgia of the first album performances and old film clips made the trek to Kew Gardens for the evening worth every mile. One thing is crystal clear from attending this show… They may have a few more laughter lines - but they’re still the same idiots the world fell in love with 10 years ago.
Bad Blood X:
Things We Lost in the Fire
Weight of Living, Pt. II
Daniel in the Den
Weight of Living, Pt. I
Beyond Bad Blood:
WHAT YOU GONNA DO???
Happier (Marshmello & Bastille cover)
Of the Night
Shut Off the Lights