Venue: The Star Theatre @ The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore
Date: 14th August 2017
Promoter: Secret Sounds Asia
Review by: Anna F.
Special Thanks: The Secret Sounds Asia and Now/Live teams
To provide some context to why everyone entering The Star Theatre on Monday night was greeted with weird and downright uncomfortable behind-the-scenes footage of a mock newscaster from WWCOMMS (Wild World Communications) sitting in front of a green screen, doing everything from hounding the band members to polish his shoes, to using Bastille’s songs for vocal warmups, the “Wild Wild World Tour” is centred on a newscast, following the album’s theme. Inspired by the idea of watching the world’s madness unravel on a television screen, the motif was apparent throughout the show.
And if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like you’ve been here before? We sure have. Bastille has performed here for three consecutive years, with their memorable performance at F1 just last September being the most recent. Made up of the ever charming vocalist Dan Smith, keyboardist Kyle Simmons, bassist and guitarist Will Farquarson, drummer Chris “Woody” Wood and multi-instrumentalist and touring member Charlie Barnes, the indie band banqueted their fans with a seamless set from start to finish.
The attention to detail was evident, especially with Dan’s very noticeable frustrations about the sound mixing. Even during the penultimate song, he could be seen signaling backstage, slightly disheartened. Overall though, Bastille managed to keep everyone grooving and jumping along to their more upbeat hits like “Icarus”, “Good Grief”, and “Things We Lost in the Fire”, all while reveling in unabashed synth-pop and alt-rock. The charismatic singer led the pack with his quirky dance moves and constant pogoing, which was completely contagious.
Even Kyle’s work on the shakers was skewered with note-perfect precision, and, accompanied with Woody and Will’s ability to transcend their songs to a whole other level in a live setting, the 90-minute politically fueled performance was a show of extreme ardour, creative expression, and some much-needed humour, masquerading as a giant dance party, burning bright right till the end. Everyone was truly in sync with each other musically, as they masterfully maneuvered the stage (and drums), especially during “Of the Night”, which saw Kyle and Dan delivering the explosive last quarter of the song with absolute vigour.
One of the highlights of the night was when Dan and Will appeared on the balcony for the emotionally wrought “Two Evils”, with Dan’s legs dangling over the ledge (and making me feel nervous) and a single spotlight circling on just the two of them. Coming off Wild World, their second studio album, it was performed with so much emotion and equal measures of conviction and elegance that you could hear how awestruck everyone in the venue was. The band made sure to curate a set spanning their dynamic seven-year career, even including “Weight of Living, Pt. II”, which was requested by an audience member.
As soon as the first song kicked in, the audience quickly filled up the space between the front row and the stage. This proved to be a well calculated decision as the spirited frontman decided to become one with the crowd and wander through the intimidating pantheon of fans during “Flaws”, only to be met with clamouring hands and squeals of excitement.
“We’ve been Bastille. Thank you for having us,” Dan said before the band broke out into “Pompeii”, their clear flagship single, which somehow never gets old. Despite returning so often, I’ve learnt not to doubt Bastille’s ability to not only bring something fresh and new every time but also put on a show of admirable quality; and I can’t help but wonder what’s gonna be left of the world if they’re not in it.