Bastille live in Johannesburg: the day in review

Photo by Pieter Bredenkamp.

Article by Shann Boje.

On Saturday, 7 October, Bastille closed off their Wild, Wild World Tour at Emmarentia Dam in Johannesburg to an enthusiastic and soaked crowd. Anybody that decided to skip the performance because of the heavy rainfall missed out on a moving and connected performance by the British band as well as many local favourites like Opposite the Other, Matthew Mole, Tresor and Monark.

The consistently excellent Matthew Mole delivered a great version of “Singing in the Rain” after his set had to be postponed. Bastille’s set also started late because of the heavy weather. The crowd’s impatience was washed away instantly by front man Dan Smith’s heartfelt and emotional deliverance and pitch perfect singing.

The performance was ‘hosted’ by the mock political newsreader from the “Fake It” music video. Fans were very excited to see these segments on the viewing screens before and during the show. In an interview with Rhian Daly from NME on 1 November 2016, Smith explained the newsreader as follows: “We just wanted to do something different and unsettling, but obviously we also want it to be a fun experience.”

The songs performed were an excellent balance between the newer songs from their Wild World album and fan favourites like “Flaws” and “Pompeii”. The band didn’t shy away from stating their political opinions openly on stage as well as layered in their music. They have always had the ability as writers to make heavy subject matter into songs that are catchy and easy to listen to. In such a wild, wild world Bastille’s lyrics deliver a realistic punch paired with catchy tunes.

Bastille also performed “Durban Skies” for the South African audience the first time in this tour – this song has not yet been performed in other countries. Smith’s parents met each other in Durban and the song is a beautiful homage to the city.

In an exciting moment Smith proved the relatability of Bastille’s music by running through the crowd and singing. Even at a sprint his voice did not lose its clarity. Bastille does not need to be in a studio or use technology to sound fantastic. They also easily established an interaction with the fans and each other on stage. This connection just helps make the heavy emotional undertones of their songs even more potent.

The band made great use of the screens behind the stage to accompany their songs. Not once did the visuals detract from the artists or the songs. But with a performance that powerful and balanced, not even rain and thunder could detract from it.

This show was definitely worth the flu I now have because of it!