Last night, indie, but truly genreless, band Bastille kicked off their ReOrchestrated tour in Manchester’s O2 Apollo to a sold out crowd. Though this wasn’t quite like their last performance in Manchester (at Manchester Arena, November 2016), this time the four-piece were joined by a string quartet and a beautiful choir. A pretty unique offering, not one you’d always expect from a band that were placed just before Kasabian at Reading Festival last year. Based upon a show in London’s Union Chapel for the charity Streets of London, the lads of Bastille have taken their ReOrchestrated show on the road to play some of their classic hits, new music and rarely played songs reinvented, in intimate venues across Europe.
Supported by Bastille touring member and singer/songwriter Charlie Barnes, he opened the show with a few tracks from his new album Oceanography, followed by friends of Bastille and long time collaborators, To Kill a King. This show is a real ‘Bastille + Friends’ tour, it really adds to the intimate staging of these small shows.
The lads of Bastille and a whole host of ‘real musicians’ (as frontman, lead vocalist Dan Smith referred to them as) put on a stunning evening, turning indie into orchestra. Bastille are consistent in surprises, from their mixtapes full of collaborations to not using a single guitar in their chart topping debut album ‘Bad Blood’, they seemingly destroy any challenge they decide to take up. And in a major twist they opened the evening with their hit ‘Pompeii’, most of it was performed completely a capella- properly leaving the audience speechless.
Whilst most of the tracks played are stripped down, ‘Two Evils’ is given a complete new life. The song from their sophomore album Wild World was already pretty stripped back, so they added a whole lot more to it. The synth and layered vocals really give this song a new lease of life, both versions are great but I am just a little bit in love with this ReOrchestrated version. The audience ate up ‘No Angels’, Bastille’s old mash up of ‘No Scrubs’ by TLC and ‘Angels’ by The xx, I don’t know where else you can see ‘No Scrubs’ performed with a string quartet and a choir, but I think that’s the benchmark we have to hold this song at from now on.
Covering their entire career, from their first ever single ‘Flaws’, to the recent, massive collaboration with Craig David, ‘I Know You’, Bastille’s 22 song set was a true crowd pleaser, and definitely one for the fans- with old ‘B sides’ like ‘Weight of Living Pt. 1’ and ‘Laughter Lines’ taking new life. An update was also provided to Smith’s Wild West inspired project ‘Annie Oakley Hanging’, co-created with To Kill a King frontman Ralph Pelleymounter. Their old track ‘Cut Her Down’ was played, albeit its a little depressing, as it’s a song about your lover being hanged for her crimes, it’s still a treat for the ears though. It’s been a long time since fans heard about this side-project.
Dan Smith has incredible on stage charisma, especially considering he intended to create films from behind the camera, never to be the man stood in front of plenty and thousands of adoring fans. He stumbles at times, but that just makes the evening that much more memorable. He gives a short talk about how they’re leaving the stage but it’s ‘all a f*cking farce’ and they’ll be back for the encore. There isn’t much bravado or showmanship from Bastille, they’re normal guys who worked ridiculously hard to reach where they are today, and I think that’s the key to their popularity and success. And they also make a lot of bangers. A good combo.
This tour truly encapsulates what we love about Bastille, they love to create music, to experiment their sound- they’re the truest form of musicians. Now we eagerly await their fourth mixtape in the Other People’s Heartache series and their third full length album, hopefully dropping later this year. Whilst they’ve played everything from pubs to the biggest arenas in the world, it would seem these smaller, theatrical venues are truly what Bastille call home.
Catch Bastille’s ReOrchestrated tour around the UK and Europe:
11th April – Usher Hall, Edinburgh
13th April – Colster Hall, Bristol
14th April – Sheffield City Hall and Memorial Hall, Sheffield
16th April – Royal Albert Hall, London
18th April – TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht
19th April – Tempodrom, Berlin
20th April – KKL, Lucerne