Bastille at First Avenue, 4/1/14

Bastille at First Avenue, 4/1/14
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

with To Kill a King
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bastille used to just conjure up images of a French uprising, but now it's an indie-pop rock band from London with a hit single called "Pompeii." Bastille showed Minneapolis on Tuesday night that they had more life beyond their radio play.

See also:
Slideshow: Bastille rock First Avenue

For those who missed the Imagine Dragons show at the Xcel mid-March, Bastille made up for that. If the Dragons are U2's mini-mes, then Bastille are the baby Imagine Dragons. Like the two bands, each of Bastille's songs were anthemic to epic porportions, building and pulling back to grow again to a big ending. The English band even had a drum right up front for lead singer Dan Smith to use to enforce the driving beat.

As the band opened with the pulsing "Bad Blood," the audience, giddy with anticipation from waiting all day, greeted them with screams. To be fair, the crowd was ready to cheer for anything the band did, be it Dan standing on the amps or him just waving his hands and leading them into dancing along. Outside of his pompadour of dark hair, Smith looks vaguely like Owl City's Adam Young, minus Young's awkward dancing.

Bastille at First Avenue, 4/1/14
Bastille at First Avenue, 4/1/14
Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen

For anyone who hasn't internalized Bastille's album, the pieces started to blend and sound alike. Good thing they had a few ballads to throw into the set. Approaching the keys, "Overjoyed" slowed down the set, yet had the ability to not drag it down.

Even to the most jaded critic, while their music is not groundbreaking, it admittedly is fun experiencing grandiose pieces like "Icarus" and "Things We Lost in the Fire" in a live setting. The former opened with sweeping piano and drums to bring the rest of the band to shape the energetic song.
With no warning, Smith grabbed his grey wolf hoodie and a wireless mic to walk the crowd for the band's last song in their regular set. It was easy to track his progress by following the screams and flashing lights. The night was not complete without the big single, so for their encore, the band mashed up Corona's "The Rhythm of the Night" and "Rhythm Is a Dancer" by Snap! To those too young to know the originals, they sounded hazily familiar, but they served their purpose by getting you moving.

Bastille at First Avenue, 4/1/14
Bastille at First Avenue, 4/1/14
Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen

Despite being overplayed to death on the radio, it's tough to escape the draw of "Pompeii." The piece opened with African chants and built into the catchiest pop song that carries a message that speaks to young kids that are tired of musicians like Miley Cyrus who use antics to get their point across. 

Critic's bias: I truly enjoyed Bastille's show, but am very skeptical on where the band will be in five years. The music is good, it's just been done before.

The crowd: Young.

Overheard in the crowd: "He ran by us, and I missed it 'cause I was looking at my phone!"

Random notebook dump: The band used the Twin Peaks theme song as the house music.


Bad Blood
Weight of Living, Part II
Laura Palmer
Laughter lines
These Streets
The Silence
The Draw
Things We Lost in the Fire

Daniel in the Den
Of the Night

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