Bastille At Union Chapel, London

Originally published on MTV UK.

Last night Bastille hosted a very special show at London’s Union Chapel in partnership with Streets Of London, a charity that focuses on tackling homelessness here in the capital.

The London four piece have just finished their Wild, Wild World Tour which has taken them to various venues across the globe with last night’s gig being quite the contrast to their usual shows.

Speaking to us before the event, Dan Smith told us how it would be different: “We wanted to do something special and we’ve always wanted to play Union Chapel. It’s a really beautiful venue so we thought we would go all out and do a sort of acoustic gig with a gospel choir, a strings section and a brass section and fully realise all of the stuff that we’ve done on the records.”
He continued: “We thought we’d take a whole load of our songs and flip them on their heads and do them in ways we’ve never done them before and also do songs we’ve never performed before.”
The band finished the show with ‘Weight Of Living (Part 1)’, a hidden track on Bastille’s debut album, Bad Blood. Woody, the band’s drummer revealed that it has been a long time since any of them had rehearsed it, he said: “We last played it together in rehearsals where we did one run through about five years ago – the muscle memory is still there!”
With the upcoming general election, many musicians are voicing their opinions. With the support act at last night’s show being left-wing activist and all-round legend, Billy Bragg, the political tone was set as he performed songs about Donald Trump.
However, Billy Bragg also used his set to highlight how music brings us all together in solidarity and in light of last night’s tragic event in Manchester, this becomes all the more pertinent.

Not as well known for their political views Bastille performed their track ‘The Currents’, which has pretty obvious political connotations. At last night’s gig, Dan was more explicit about the songs inspiration, saying: “This song is a massive f**k you to Theresa May, Donald Trump, and Nigel Farage”, before stating “there’s enough sh*t to deal with in this world without people making it worse.”

Dan is an ambassador for Streets Of London, speaking about this he told us how he became involved in the charity: “I was first introduced to the charity when two or three Christmases ago Ellie Goulding did a show for them at Shepherds Bush Empire, where she asked lots of friends to come along and play.”

He added: “We went and did a couple of tunes and I met the people who run the charity and since then they’ve asked me to be involved in one of their campaigns and then they asked if I would be up for being an ambassador. I don’t feel worthy of being an ambassador for anything but if it’s any help whatsoever, I said I would be very happy to. This was our first opportunity as a band to do something to support them using whatever minuscule influence we might have.”

The influence of Bastille fans is big, you could see this from the queues that formed from early yesterday morning, with fans travelling from all over the world to be at the show. And boy, was it worth it. The band performed reimagined versions of some of their most well know tracks (‘Pompeii’, ‘Flaws’) as well as lesser known or older ones such as ‘bad_news’ and ’Get Home’.

As Kyle Simmons, the band’s keyboard/synth/backing vocal extraordinaire, explained before the show, it wasn’t just any old acoustic gig: “We’ve always done stripped back gigs, where we take it down a couple of notches, but a lot of the songs have been completely reimagined, it’s not like we’ve gone ‘let’s take it back’ we’ve added strings and brass and choir.”

Those three elements, in the setting of Union Chapel, combined with the magic Bastille already bring to the stage and the fact that everyone there was raising money for a great cause, made for a truly special evening of amazing music.

If you would like to make a donation to Streets Of London, head to their website: http://www.streetsoflondon.org.uk

set list

Pompeii
Send Them Off
The Currents
Laura Palmer
bad_news
Warmth
Blame
Things We Lost In The Fire
No Angels
Bad Blood
Glory
Flaws
Oblivion
Two Evils
Fake It
Good Grief
Get Home
Weight Of Living (Part One)

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