With Wolf Gang
Fillmore Miami Beach
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Better Than: Standing out in the heavy rain.
If you ever wondered what the long term effects of Coldplay might be, you need look no further than Bastille. The chart topping synth heavy four piece are led by singer/songwriter Dan Smith who turned 14 in the year 2000. That is the age where musical tastes are formed, so it is no coincidence that the year 2000 is when Coldplay's debut album "Parachutes" was released as was U2's "All that You Can't Leave Behind."
While you can debate the artistic merits of such influences, there is no question that they spawn commercial success. Bastille's debut album, Bad Blood, was 2013's biggest selling digital album in the UK.
And last night's show at the Fillmore Miami Beach certainly proved that Bastille's popularity translates across the pond as a legion of screaming fans sang along to every verse of the English band's stadium-ready anthems.
In spite of the gloomy weather that was more reminiscent of Bastille's native London than Miami Beach, it was an early-arriving crowd, probably because it was a school night.
It is popular to knock teenage audiences, but they provide two assets to the concert experience. They make it easier to see the stage as many of them have another growth spurt in them and they bring enthusiasm. The screams for both Bastille and openers Wolf Gang were like something out of a Beatles documentary.
The Wolf Gang guys were taken aback by the fandom.
"What a spectacular crowd you are," said singer Max McElligott.
And all those teen screamers really were showing such warmth to a band that beyond its clever name did nothing distinctive or noteworthy during the 45-minute set. Well, except maybe allow the headliner to look less bland by comparison.
At 9:40, Bastille walked out to the dreamy theme song from the 1990 David Lynch TV show Twin Peaks. The quartet later performed a song, "Laura Palmer," named after a dead central character from the series. But it was difficult to find a connection between the nihilistic drama with an oddball sense of humor and a rock band that takes everything so seriously while making it sound life affirming.
It was as incongruous as if Stitches came out for a concert with the Sesame Street theme and performed a song titled "Cookie Monster."
If Bastille were an old TV show, it would more likely be Law & Order, reliable and hard working, with every episode following the same formula.
From opening song, "Bad Blood," Smith worked up a sweat, pumping his fists and dancing so much that he had to take off his hoodie and perform in a black t-shirt for the rest of the show.
Backed by drums, synthesizer, and guitar, the band pulled out all the stops to engage the crowd, from impressive lasers beaming from the stage to climbing up to any elevated space available to walking among the crowd members during set closer "Flaws."
This stunt was perhaps the riskiest choice Smith made that evening as only a couple security members kept him from being stampeded by a cavalcade of camera phone wielding fans.
After a very brief exit, Bastille returned to the stage for three more songs, including "Of the Night," which mixed Snap's "Rhythm Is a Dancer" with "The Rhythm of the Night," before the band ended the set with its biggest hit, "Pompeii."
With that song's lyrics of "I was left to my own devices," you can feel the Coldplay and late-era U2 running through Bastille's DNA. This was the stuff iPhone commercials are made of.
-"Weight of Living Pt II"
-"Things We Lost in the Fire"
-"Dan in Den"
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-"Of the Night"
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