Bastille rocks Oklahoma into “Oblivion”


Christy Nieves

Lead singer Dan Smith performed his heart out at the concert.

Hannah Prentice, Memorial Co-Editor-in-Chief

Nov. 13, the walls of Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa shook from the intensity and excitement of British indie rock band Bastille. Performing for the first time in the state of Oklahoma, the group pulled out all the stops in attempt to leave the crowd wanting more, a goal they successfully achieved.

Formed in 2010 the group’s name connects to lead singer Dan Smith’s birthday that falls on the French holiday called Bastille Day. The band has spent the last eight years creating a wide variety of music as well as pushing the boundaries of traditional musical styles through their albums, along with being featured on movie soundtracks.

With iconic songs such as “Pompeii,” “Good Grief,” “Happier” and their newest single, Quarter Past Midnight,” the band has managed to make a name for themselves within the indie genre as well as in the mainstream media.

The evening began with a 45 minute opening performance by Los Angeles band The Moth & The Flame who captivated the crowd with what they called “depressing” songs. They also engaged in playful banter with the audience, one audience member even going so far as to label lead singer Brandon Robbins as “Jesus” due to his long curly brown hair. The band did an extremely good job of warming up the audience and sounded amazing live, with a solid stage presence and a good balance to the style of music of the main band and comparable style and voice of artists like George Ezra or Hozier.

The main act came out with an overwhelming liveliness, beginning with the single released prior to their second studio album, “Good Grief.” The group beautifully balanced the number of songs from their first album, “Bad Blood” versus their second album, “Wild World” throughout the concert while also choosing collaboration songs “I Know You” (originally sung with artist Craig David) as well as “World Gone Mad” which was written for the Netflix original movie “Bright.”

Lead singer, Smith, utilized every space of the room into the show, at one point going so far as sneaking back behind the crowd and performing their slow, melancholic ballad “Two Evils” as he was sitting on the rail of the mezzanine at the back of the venue . During another song, Smith took the time to walk through the crowd to the back of the room once again, resulting in him walking across the sound booth rail at the back while holding onto the structural beams above him, as Smith continued to effortlessly retain his voice.

The performance, while thrillingly emotional and exciting, may not be suited for the faint of heart; the musicians utilized creative forms of lighting to embody the creative flow of their music. Colorful spontaneity of the lights emphasized the rise and fall of each song and deepened the connection between band and crowd with a simple stage setup that made the music the focus. However, the lighting did flash quite often and in a multitude of colors, making it difficult to watch at times and making the show an unsuitable environment for anyone susceptible to seizures.

Energy levels in the room were engulfing due highly to the groups willingness to engage so fluidly with the crowd through dancing, banter, but most notably through the collective singing in every song.

Bastille as a band has never been afraid to go outside of the normal confines of music and they brought that same spirit into their concert. The band carried over one of my favorite elements from the second album, in which they incorporated audio clips of vintage dialogue into the songs, helping to further convey the message and tone of each. Some of the most recognizable songs from the show were the ones that began with unique audio clips that helped to individualize each song.

One element consistent with Bastille throughout their work is the tasteful way in which each song differs from others by style and technique. The way they balance a style of rock and roll with piano music, string instruments and even a more techno style beat adds to the diversity, showing the bands fearlessness in experimenting with new styles.

Bastille is currently working on the final touches of their third studio album, “Doom Days” which does not have a decided release date as of yet.

Contact Hannah Prentice at [email protected]