10:00am PT by C. Molly Smith
British Buzz Band Bastille Makes Troubadour Debut
In their native England, the band Bastille would fill a venue five times the size of the room they played on Tuesday night. But like any buzz act worth its salt, the four-piece took the stage at Los Angeles’ storied club the Troubadour, where so many of their British brethren before them had greeted a U.S. audience for the first time -- from Elton John to Arctic Monkeys.
Like those predecessors, Bastille is perfectly poised for mainstream success. In the U.K., their debut entered the album chart at No. 1 earlier this year and has remained in the Top 20 ever since. In recent months, the group has been gaining radio play in the U.S. while gaining favor among the music press.
Clearly, the hype has been heard, judging by the Troubadour crowd.
After an opening set by on-the-rise indie-electro darlings Little Daylight, whose funky, electro-infused sound felt reminiscent of French favorite Phoenix, Bastille hit the stage promptly at 9:30 and kicked off their performance with “Bad Blood,” the title track from their forthcoming album, due out in the U.S. via Virgin Records on Sept. 3.
Frontman Dan Smith looked infinitely cool with an up-do and wolf shirt (keyboardist Kyle Simmons opted for a kitten on his tee) as the group -- which also includes Will Farquarson on bass and Chris Wood on drums -- winded down a notch with the slower, harmonic “Overjoyed” and “Laura Palmer.” This back-and-forth between upbeat dance numbers and slower ballads was a hallmark of the show, creating a dynamic set that kept the audience on its toes.
And it was during the slower tracks when listeners could really hear the group’s ethereal vocal arrangements -- similar to those of Fleet Foxes and Local Natives. Upping the entertainment factor, however, were Smith’s offstage antics, which included hopping upstairs to sing to the industry VIPs, then climbing on top of the bar, after which he hugged random audience members.
Bastille closed with its most popular track, “Pompeii,” which prompted dozens of iPhones to light up the room. The faithful had spoken.
Is Bastille the next great British export? Check out the video for “Pompeii” below and judge for yourself: