It was definitely no surprise that this gig was a sell out. With three outstanding acts to perform in such an intimate venue, it was bound to be a gig to remember.
The show opened with up and coming Dublin singer/songwriter, Orla Gartland. In recent months, Orla’s Youtube channel has reached a massive 9 million views, and having seen her live plenty of times before, this was a performance I was really looking forward to. I suppose it’s never easy being the opening act; having to stand up and play while everyone is still wandering into the venue and finding a place to stand, but it didn’t stop Orla doing what she always does. Orla performed outstandingly, and as always, succeeded in connecting and interacting with the crowd that were, sort of, scattered all over the venue- apart from a line of people who were basically standing on top of her. The thing about Orla is, when she performs, it’s unique and it’s quirky. Her passion for what she does just shines, and her tendency to pull faces never fails to add to the performance!
Her set list contained a perfect balance of songs- from opening with a new song ‘Jealous’, to including a cover of ‘Cross Your Fingers’ by Laura Marling, to finishing with some familiar tunes such as ‘The Ground’ and ‘Devil On My Shoulder’. Not only are Orla’s lyrics incredibly honest, but she performs them with such passion and love for music. Anyone who has seen this girl live knows she has a rare talent and is bound to go far.
The show switched from the lovely acoustic atmosphere of just Orla and her guitar to an electric sound of synth from dance-electro-pop group, Swiss Lips. From the minute this five-piece band start belting out their songs, you can just feel the energy of the crowd building. The songs are catchy, so catchy that you could leave the venue singing lines from each one, having never heard the band until just then.
It took one song, if even, to have to crowd jumping uncontrollably to Swiss Lip’s extremely lively rhythms. It was hard to believe that this was the band’s debut Dublin performance. They could have easily played for the entire night without any objections from the crowd. They certainly knew how to get the crowd exactly where they wanted them, and their performance was flawless throughout.
I really thought the atmosphere in the crowd couldn’t get any more lively. But as soon as headline act, Bastille began the opening lines of ‘Icarus’ , it was clear they were in top form and ready to perform. The crowd were straight in, showing their appreciation of lead singer, Dan Smith’s incredible voice, along with the amazing harmonies and melodies that the band produce. When the band move onto playing ‘Overjoyed’, there’s that beautiful sound of an entire crowd singing perfectly in sync. It was obvious how genuinely amazed the band were by the support they had.
They then moved onto songs from their EP ‘Other People’s Heartaches’, which consisted of covers and mash-ups of other artist’s songs. With these songs being essentially some of the most well-known songs that Bastille have released; you can imagine to reaction of the crowd now. The speed of the vocals in ‘What Would You Do?’, their cover of City High’s song, didn’t stop the crowd from singing every single word without fail. After all the hype, it was probably about time we heard one of their more mellow songs. When Dan went over to the piano to play ‘Oblivion’, it gave the crowd a chance to retain their voices so they didn’t disappoint when given the chance to sing their hearts out again for ‘Bad Blood’. Throughout the entire show, Bastille were just really enjoyable to watch. They interact with the fans pretty much every second they’re up on stage, which really is the whole point of seeing a band live; you don’t go to listen to exactly what you can hear on your iPod.
When it was time for what we thought was the last song- ‘Flaws’, Dan put up his hood and walked through the crowd, giving hugs and high fives to everyone, while still singing every note of ‘Flaws’ perfectly. For me, that was definitely the song of the night. It was just played with such a beautiful energy that can be hard to find in a lot of artists.
The band stay on stage and Dan looks into the crowd and says “I’m not gonna pretend-we’ve a few more!”. As the crowd go crazy, Dan then apologises for “killing the vibe” as they go on to play ‘Get Home’. The night ends with another song from ‘Other People’s Heartaches’- ‘Of The Night’. This song really summed up the entire night; the energy from the band on stage combined with the reaction of the crowd creating a wonderful atmosphere around the venue. The fans don’t stop cheering and clapping, even as they leave the venue and walk down the street. Abbey Street just becomes full of voices shouting lyrics from different Bastille songs. If this is Bastille as a relatively unknown band, I can’t wait to see them in a year or so.