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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bastille | Cardiff SU, Live Review 23/03/2013


Having attended many events at Cardiff's Students Union over the years, upon arriving last night I was quite surprised to see the length of the queue snake its way from down the street up the many steps to the doors. Although, having sold out every date of their current UK tour this should have come as no surprise at all. With a collection of singles, EP's and now debut album to their name there is no questioning Bastille's success tonight as the crowd eagerly edges its way out of the cold and in to the warm venue.



If you had any hope of getting remotely near the front tonight then you had another thing coming as the audience quickly became shoulder to shoulder, front to back from the offset, which must have been a nice sight to the support bands. With The Ramona Flowers kicking the evening proceedings off followed by London's rousing folk outfit To Kill A King Cardiff's SU was sure in for a treat.

The Ramona Flowers



Whilst labelled a 3 piece on paper, Bristol's The Ramona Flowers seem to be joined onstage with a few extra members to help them achieve their full live set up. Combining glitchy electronics with lustrous vocals the band begin to warm the crowd up with their mixture of hard hitting basslines and euphoric guitars. Their somewhat ambient pop captivates and engages. It's a pleasant mix of upbeat charm with an emotional sting in its tail that when caught off guard, really hits home. As the band move through their half hour set their songs seem to be well received by the Welsh audience and having recently been named as one of  NME's top 5 ‘Buzz Band's’ with similar comparisons to early Radiohead, The Ramona Flowers have definitely blossomed.

To Kill A King (Joined by Bastille)




Next up was a band I've been following for quite some time so was most looking forward to see them take to the stage for their Welsh debut. It's not often that a support band tips the scales of excitement for me in comparison to the headline act, but being more familiar with To Kill A King's deep lyrical narratives I was eagerly anticipating their arrival. Whilst having only recently released their debut album 'Cannibals With Cutlery' the London five-piece are far from new to the music scene with a number of EP's and countless live performances under their belts including their iconic guerrilla gig series. Having caught them at The Fleece club in Bristol last year, I was slightly apprehensive as to how well they would transition to this larger venue but was quickly reassured as they burst in to album track Gasp. Still retaining its orchestral energy lead singer Ralph Pelleymounter manages to captivate the crowd without the need for shouted vocals as the track rapidly mixes its calm and explosive structure in to a whirlwind of charismatic seduction. As they progress through Funeral, with its glistening guitars and forlornness resentment laid bare, the brutally beautiful harmonies of Howling begin to take a hold. Flourishing in to a vigorous explosion of guitars and exuberant percussion before disappearing to its former serenity the track pays a true sentiment to what this band are about.

As the atmosphere inside begins to build Ralph announces that for their next track, Choices, the band will be joined on stage by Bastille. Wearing ear plugs at this point might have prevented some slight hearing damage as the crowd roars with excitement. A powerful performance unravels through skippy percussion and uplifting guitars, one of which the band seem to be enjoying as they smirk amongst themselves on stage. Rounding up with Cold Skin & Fictional state To Kill A King excelled themselves in every possible way as their well formulated set list ends on a high met with gracious applause. A fantastic display of musicianship making for an electrifying performance that has surely earned them some new fans this evening.

Bastille


Suitably warmed up, to say the crowd are slightly ecstatic when Bastille take to the stage would be a an understatement. From the moment they man their instruments the band enrapture the audience in a wave of energy laced with their vehement joy. The four piece Indie-Pop outfit helmed by lead singer Dan Smith have shot to fame and popularity in recent months supporting big named artists such as Emile Sande and Two Door Cinema Club. With rave reviews of their EP's and live performances including a debut album released on March 4th, I can only see them continuing with excellent form in reaching even greater heights. And I guess one way to achieving such success is by mastering the live circuit, something this pop quartet manage to do to an exceptional standard.

Playing through some of their biggest hits, relentless group drumming pleasantly forms the backdrop to the intricate synths that compliment Dan Smith’s falsetto style singing, resulting in an exuberant sound that has no problem engaging the whole venue. To see the audience singing each and every word back must make for a beautiful scene and the band look genuinely humbled by this thanking the crowd profusely at every opportunity. If anything, I think they are all still in slight disbelief about their success thus far.

Repaying the earlier favour, To Kill A King are welcomed back on stage to perform backing vocals on Pompeii. The vitality is quickly lapped up as it soars across the venue as everyone begins to jump around excitedly. Including a delightful cover of Carona's Rhythm of the Night, the soundtrack to many Saturday nights, and now this one, Bastille showed a true spirit powering through their set list to round up a highly enjoyable evening.

With their debut album only 3 weeks old the band have a remarkably refined live show charged with enthusiasm that will only get better and better. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a ticket for any forthcoming sold out dates you’re in for a treat.

f: www.facebook.com/theramonaflowersmusic
f: www.facebook.com/tokillaking
f: www.facebook.com/bastilleuk

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