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Gig Review: Bastille at Portsmouth Pyramids

Gig Review: Bastille at Portsmouth Pyramids

This truly was a gig of two halves, as we were treated to not one, but two shows from the same band in the same evening!  Spying the setlist being covertly handed around while the DJ was keeping the ever-growing crowd bouncing along happily. I spotted that not only were we going to get to hear Bastille‘s latest album in its entirety, but we were then also going to get to hear from their alter ego, Chaos Planet, who were going to cover some of their older classics from yesteryear.  This definitely increased my expectations on an otherwise damp and dreary night under a leisure centre roof!

The crowd had turned out in their droves to hear their penultimate show for their Doom Days club tour, which had been coordinated to showcase their most recent album which had been released in June.  The premise behind the tour was to try and bring you away from the humdrum of everyday life and then transport you to a night out, where all of the fears and worries just disappear and you can concentrate on just having fun!

From the moment the frontman Dan Smith stepped out on the stage, you could feel the energy that had been created flooding through the entire crowd, before being projected back at them with whoops and cheers from the front to the back, almost drowning out the first few bars and chords of Quarter Past Midnight.

Dan soon took control back and very quickly found his stride, much to the crowds’ delight.  After a couple more crowd favourites (Bad Decisions and The Waves), they slowed things down slightly from the fast pace they started with, by dropping into Divide.  The crowd absolutely loved this, with Dan’s vocal skills being showcased to the full, with the sea of phones adding a slightly softened glow to the room.

The band continued through the rest of the album, before they brought the first half of the set to a close with their much loved track Joy.  You could feel that they had already transported the whole crowd from the pressures of everyday life, with only the “Just Vote” message on his t-shirt being the only link between where we were and the real world.

The second half of their set, saw them take on the alter ego of Chaos Planet, the name they used to play a secret gig back in 2016 in Shoreditch.  Their outfits now feature multicoloured tie-dye as well as luminous face paint, again adding to the underground party scene they were trying to recreate.  This was now their chance to perform for their fans from when they first started out, with the majority of the second half coming from their earlier albums.

They kept the Christmas spirit alive by playing a tweaked version of the song which has been used for the John Lewis Christmas advert, Can’t Fight This Feeling. After producing a fantastic rendition of their most recent single Good Lesson, they then directed the music toward their older music, including last years big hit for them, Happier.  Dan again becomes mobile and takes himself out into the crowd, without missing a single beat.  Trying to follow him this time is a little trickier as he doesn’t have the fairy lights around his head, but the direction of all the fans quickly point out where he is!

The band bring the double feature to a close with a very appreciative and friendly chat with the crowd, explaining that they have managed to make a career of two or maybe three syllables!  Straight away, everyone knows that they’re going to finish with Pompeii, which I think was quite fitting for a gig in the similarly named city.  The whole crowd are fully behind the band now, singing back “eh eh oh” toward the band with the same amount of enthusiasm that they are singing it to the crowd.  Closing the gig with the song that started them on their way reminded us that they have managed to grow and change so much, while giving us a glimpse into what ideas and directions they may have in store for the future.

It really was a fantastic gig, which was a breath of much needed fresh air with the backdrop of everything that is going on around us.  Thank you!


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