Review: Bastille @ O2 Academy

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Just a week after they won British Breakthrough Act at the 2014 Brit Awards, Bastille kicked off their latest tour with a sell-out gig at Newcastle’s O2 Academy. Dan Smith and co. delivered a majestic performance upon their return to the venue where they supported Two Door Cinema Club in 2013, demonstrating why they have become one of the nation’s foremost rising acts.

Opening with Bad Blood, the title track from their debut album, the band delivered on their promise to make up for having cancelled the original date in October last year. The track was followed by Weight of Living, Pt. II, as they continued to utilise the material which has gained them a strong and rapidly growing fan base.

As with all bands, the so-called difficult second album is something that the group from London will have to crack, though the chances of this seem likely if the new music delivered on the night is anything to go by. Blame, given its public debut, was well received by the 2,000 strong crowd and confirmed for anxious fans that the band are pressing on with developing fresh material. Subsequently the band returned to a single released in June last year, as Laura Palmer was belted out by Smith and fans alike. This preceded Poet and Icarus, both of which were met with the same adoration by the assembled audience.

Overjoyed signalled a change in tempo after the energetic delivery of Icarus, though the track, which was the band’s first ever single, did not dampen the mood of the crowd – greeted with the same rapturous applause which followed the final note of each song. Laughter Lines, made Single of the Week on iTunes in March last year, was met with the same enthusiasm by the student-strong audience, and was closely followed by These Streets which signalled the midpoint of the hour-and-a-half long set. The Silence, where Farquarson and Simmons’ duelling guitars figure prominently, gave a second wind to the performance and set the tone for the remainder of the gig. Oblivion, taken from the band’s first LP, was followed by The Draw, a track which features on the All This Bad Blood reissue which was released in November of 2013.

Following on from their Other People’s Heartache EPs, the band seem unrelenting in their attempts to rework other artists’ tracks and this ability was displayed in their recital of Weapon. The track was first released in 2002 by Matthew Good, though this revised article featured the vocals of Angel Haze, who provided support for the band on the night. Whilst working with rappers is nothing new for the quartet, the new material represented a departure from what most fans would deem the band’s bread-and-butter.

Returning to the tracks that put them on the map so-to-speak, the band played Things We Lost in the Fire, which was the final single brought out from their debut album. The following song proved to be the finale of the initial set, though Flaws was far from riddled with the deficiencies its title alludes to. In the meantime, Smith made his way in to the crowd, resulting in a stampede by many of those within it hoping to make contact with the band’s lead singer.

After a momentary break off stage, the band returned for their encore, though the crowd were made to wait for the track that many of them bade for. Daniel in the Den proved to be the first of the tracks chosen to end the night, and this was delivered with the same vocal and instrumental precision as all of the previous songs. The penultimate track saw Rag n’ Bone Man take to the stage once again, following his earlier support performance, as he collaborated with the band on their mash up, Of The Night.

Closing the show, and the first night of a run of dates which sees them play almost continuously in to August, the band played Pompeii, the track which propelled them to the heights they currently stand at. The song rounded off an outstanding performance that suggests their Best British Breakthrough Brit award will be the first of many.

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