It’s been Bastille‘s day all year. The London quartet placed among the year’s biggest sellers with Bad Blood, which is soon getting the treatment meted out to all the most popular albums of the day: a reissue with a new title and tonnes of extra gubbins.
In concert, too, they’re in great demand. This was the first of four major London shows over the coming months. They owe it mostly to their song Pompeii, an energetic mass of synths and tribal chanting that has been all over the airwaves and was predictably saved until last here.
Singer and songwriter Dan Smith was watchable, into the crowd here, up on the speaker stack there, bouncing and thumping a snare drum wherepossible. He had little to say between songs, disparaging his dancing and expressing awe at the size of the venue.
He’s already moved on to new material, adding a bluesy guitar riff to the moody Blame, which he said was “a massive novelty”. This was largely electronic pop, its digital sheen and upbeat pace concealing a blandness that makes it hard to believe in its staying power. Their ease with melody and anthemic style has earned generous Coldplay comparisons elsewhere.
Icarus and Laura Palmer bounded along without leaving much impression. Campus was brighter tropical pop with lots of handclaps. A Nineties dance megamix on Of the Night, in contrast, was dreadful novelty pop.
It’s hugely popular today, but it was easy to think that today is as good as it gets. It’s this year’s radio fodder, fit for a prominent slot at V Festival and possibly a Brit Award before a swift fading. Next year will be tougher.