The Rhythm of the Night: Bastille Examined



“The middle class are a horribly snobby class that specifically favours a specific group. I don’t think he’s touching on anything specifically new,” says bassist Will Farquarson, in response to Noel Gallagher’s usual rant about everything and nothing in particular. This time, the ex-Oasis guitarist draws his arrows at Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys for their lack of effort in being an inspiration to upcoming bands from the working class. For the London band who has been equipped with a clairvoyant-like know-how in spotting trends of upbeat melodies, spun around a crux of unique mythological tales, Bastille refuse to take sides.

It has been somewhat like a Friday night party of sorts, with fans lining up the side of the area readying themselves to waltz past the bouncers to the opening event of the year. But success didn’t come early for the Londoners after pressing two tracks ‘Flaws’ and ‘Icarus’ on a limited run of 300 copies in 2012. It was only after the release of ‘Pompeii’ as their fourth single a year later, did their popularity get up to speed, clocking in big festivals like Reading and Leeds and Hong Kong’s Clockenflap Festival.

Looking back, it was only close to a year ago that fans in Melbourne were treated to a free showing of the boys’ prowess at Queen Victoria Market, dancing in notes and singing in tropical colours against the demented Melbourne weather. It was a neat trick to impose a guerilla gathering where fans huddled together to beat the winter blues while taking in the strong wafts of coffee from nearby. A larger fan base was established that day with a Roland keyboard, acoustic guitar and some funky dance moves from drummer Woody. A year after, fans impressed by their jump-start will fork out $108 to catch the same dance moves at the Coliseum.




It was a different atmosphere when the quartet took to the raised platform at the Coliseum, the impatient crowd kept growing and the growing crowd got impatient. Everyone including the security in the front was jumpy; 3500 was after all not a number the Coliseum is used to accommodating. It was a heart-warming exchange as there were neither disguises nor swelling egos to distract both fans and band from being in the moment.


Despite only being able to draw tunes from their 2011 EP Laura Palmer and their debut album Bad Blood, Bastille suffered from no lack of captivating moments, pulling one rabbit after another from their bountiful bag of tricks. Tracks like ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’ spurred the emotions of the crowd, Dan Smith was adventurous and inventive, skirting between his drum kit, keyboards and flirtatious glances and furtive touches from the front row. ‘No Scrubs, No Angels’ a mash-up of TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’ and the XX’s ‘Angels’, the result is an emotive and cathartic wave, sweeping fans away from the actualities of life.


With each tour brings a learning experience, drawing experience from a meeting with an astronaut, who advised them to make a memory as much as they can, “We are visiting new countries and on different stages every day, we want to do something interesting, unique and memorable." say Dan Smith. Bassist Farquarson quickly jumped in, adding "At the same time, I also learn that when you are on tour and drunkenly call your girlfriend at night; it’s four in the morning where she is and she is not as appreciative.”


With Smith effusive in his thanks, he speaks every word of thanks with tenacity that he is genuinely appreciative of his fans. “I would like them to remember us fifteen years later, hopefully not the band that released one album and went downhill from there but as the band they saw play a wicked show last week.”


Plenty of much-loved bands have fallen ill to the one-hit-wonder curse and with a second album billed as a “work in progress with sixteen songs in various states of completion”, the band insists that nothing is set in stone but based on new track ‘Blame’ alone, it will be edgier with more guitars, “there could be eight songs on there, or who knows it could be released as a three-disc album!”