Anyone who went to the Bastille concert in Taipei on Sunday knowing little about the band no doubt left a super fan. And if you were already a fan like myself, you probably reached “stormer” level and wondered if it was humanly possible to love Bastille even more.
The British indie rock band performed an explosive gig at the Taipei International Convention Center on Sunday, and it was the best concert I have ever attended.
After what seemed like a lengthy wait after opening act DJ Mykal (林哲儀), Bastille – quite fittingly – graced the stage to the theme song of the TV show Twin Peaks, a favourite of frontman Dan Smith, who is a huge David Lynch fan.
Cheers then erupted as Smith, keyboardist Kyle Simmons, bassist Will Fraquarson and drummer Chris “Woody” Wood opened with their single “Bad Blood” followed by a set of two more upbeat songs “The Weight of Living, Pt. II” and “Laura Palmer”.
Flicking the hood of his grey hoodie up and down as he danced, the self-proclaimed shy guy Smith proved to be quite the contrary on the stage. Despite the seating restrictions of the venue, he was extremely energetic, firing up the crowd right from the off with his trademark hair, skinny jeans and – excuse the fangirling – awkwardly adorable dance moves.
There was never a dull moment during the concert; the audience – myself included – was entranced, alternating between clapping, jumping up and down and belting out the words to the pounding beat of anthems like “Things We Lost Lost in the Fire” and “Icarus”.
Bastille kept things varied too, with a segment of softer and slower songs such as “Overjoyed,” “Poet” and Smith’s favourite “These Streets”. “Overjoyed” was perhaps the most intimate, stripped down to the bare minimum, with Smith on keyboard, Simmons and Farquarson sharing another and Wood on a single drum. The song ended with a spotlight on Smith, leaving the audience with his haunting vocals.
With his self-deprecating humour, Smith then joked they would lighten the mood by performing their most depressing song “Oblivion”, a beautiful ballad made much more so by a sea of lights created by the glowing screens and flashlights of the phones, as encouraged by the band.
Bastille also treated fans to some of its more recent works including “Blame” – a new composition that Smith said was “quite different” and promised would be on their second album – and “The Driver”, a song inspired by the film Drive found on the band’s third and latest mixtape VS. (Other People’s Heartache, Pt. III).
Naturally, with Smith being a bit of a film buff, other film homages were cleverly worked in. Besides a sample of a quote from the film Requiem for a Dream before “Icarus”, Bastille performed “No Angels”, a cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs” mashed The xx’s “Angels”. While there was no Ella Eyre to duet with Smith, the song was executed to perfection, complete with film quotes from Psycho and even an effortless transition into the chorus of “Angels” at the end.
After performing “The Draw” – what Smith calls the band’s “terrible attempt at being in a grunge band” – a familiar riff rang across the concert hall as the band launched into their hit and my favourite “Flaws”. Donning back on his hoodie, Smith jumped off the stage into the crowd’s crazed embrace. Despite the chaos of the mob that ensued, Smith was unfazed, doing a lap around TICC before leaping back on stage again with a boyish grin to finish the song and the show.
That is until they came back on stage for the encore. The band performed “Get Home”, followed by their perhaps most famous mash-up “Of the Night”. The audience was unstoppable by then. Completely lost in the music, fans screamed, shouted and squatted down with Smith before leaping up in unison to jump and dance to the fantastical electronic beat.
Finally, the band ended an amazing night with the single that catapulted them to stardom, “Pompeii”, and the crowd’s enthusiastic chants of “ey ey oh ey oh” echoed through the entire concert hall, gradually crescendoing into the grand finale that the band deserved.
Bastille’s concert in Taipei was no doubt the best concert I have ever been to. It was an almost surreal experience, having the opportunity to see them live. The band sounded even better live than they did on their albums. Not only did Smith captivate the hearts of concertgoers with his energy and sweet sincerity, he was also in a word resilient, hitting every note and singing every number during the 19-song set. The band is closely knit, their rapport evident, their coordination on point. Simmons, Farquarson and Wood are also incredibly talented playing multiple instruments (sometimes even two at once!) throughout the night. I left the concert practically speechless and brimming with love for Bastille. If you ever have the chance to see Bastille live, do it. It’s an experience unlike any other.
- Bad Blood
- Weight of Living, Pt. II
- Laura Palmer
- Laughter Lines
- Things We Lost in the Fire
- These Streets
- The Driver
- The Silence
- No Angels
- The Draw
- Get Home
- Of the Night
cross-posted from the ICRT Blog