Bastille impresses at Verizon Theater


A view of the stage at Bastille’s concert at Verizon Theater on Nov. 8. Photo by Ashley Stuber.

Ashley Stuber, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Bastille’s exciting, enticing Nov. 8 performance was a bit offset by the audience. The Verizon Theater’s options for people-watching definitely left something to be desired. The audience, normally interesting enough to entertain me during breaks, is usually half the show. This time, however, it was a bit too stereotypical of what you would expect for a boy band, consisting of mostly teenage girls and their fathers. A few boyfriends were dragged along and the occasional blue hair peeped between the brown but it wasn’t enough to keep things exciting as I waited. My judgments had to wait for the real show.

When the music started, I became immensely distracted by the Texas Rangers jersey draping over the opening act, Ella Eyre. It was too big, unbuttoned enough to where you could tell the shirt underneath didn’t actually cover her stomach and was paired with black socks and black shorts that almost met at her knees. These joints had to be free, however, so she could perform her step-twist-jump move attractively. This seemed to be her only way of dancing, but her background singers knew at least two more arm-flailing sequences. The band stuck with modest head nods.

The music of Ella, having never heard it before, made me think of an angst-filled Adele. When the song “Comeback” followed one she introduced as being “for all the selfish people out there,” I was set in my judgment of her rebellious, spunky persona. In general terms, I’d describe her as cute.

Bastille was kind of cute, too, but in more of a love-me-because-I’m-awkward-and-British sort of way. The lead singer’s jerky arm movements were cringe-worthy. It looked like it should have hurt to lurch down that quickly. He seemed to be having fun with it, however, which made it more forgivable. Plus, he was there for his voice more than his moves, and he excelled in that area. I particularly enjoyed hearing “Bad Blood,” more for its differences to the radio version than its familiarity to me. I had never before noticed the low, gruff tones of the keyboardist, Kyle Simmons, in that song, but now I believe it would not seem so eerie and powerful without them. It was a nice contrast to Dan Smith’s treble tone.

More than anything, it was the stage setting that impressed me. I was beginning to begrudge the crew after an hour and a half had passed and music had only played for 20 minutes, but then changed my mind halfway through the show and decided to admire them instead. A giant triangle behind the band acted as a screen for everything from interesting, random transitions to close-ups of the stars’ faces. I couldn’t even identify every place lasers were being shot out of, but I counted six diagonal rows of shining diamonds and at least 12 spinning spotlights. When they broke those out, the atmosphere became extremely more enthusiastic – as did I.