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What a difference a night makes for Bastille

Rockland Trust Pavilion, Boston, September 17, 2019

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

What a difference one night makes. On Monday, British quintet Bastille opened its U.S. tour, but only a few songs into it, lead singer Dan Smith said he lost his voice. He soldiered on with the help of his fans.

Smith received some support as well in Boston, but that wasn't what carried the show. Smith is the focal point of Bastille front and center and made a huge difference. He was in control of the night as lead singer with a full-bodied voice easily carrying the songs, which more often than not were in the pop dance mode. He also burned a few calories over the course of almost 100 minutes bounding from side to side and taking a tour into the audience (that seems to be more of a thing these days) to slap hands and up the excitement ante.

Bastille focused on its recent "Doom Days" release, which is a theme album about a relationship in the nighttime until morning hours. Despite that, Smith opined to the crowd that most were in the depressing category.

But you wouldn't know it for the most part based on the music, opening with "Quarter Past Midnight" and keeping the pace going with "Send them Off!" and the hit "Things We Lost in the Fire."

Not everything worked. A few songs bordered on middling territory and were not all that different from each other. The frothy, buoyant "Happier" may be Bastille's biggest hit, but it did not cut very deep.

Dispensing with an encore, which Smith said the band wasn't fans of, Bastille closed strong with the sing-along of "Million Pieces" and its inventive and first big hit "Pompeii."

Opening night problems hopefully behind them, Bastille made depressing music sound real good.

Decked out matching outfits of dark blue running jerseys, lime yellow short-sleeved shirts and silver lame shoes, opening act Joywave did not reduce themselves to shtick. The Rochester, N.Y.-based band, which has a new disc coming out in March/April 2020, was a good match for the headliners, with its often pop-flavored brand of music that made you move to the beat.

Lead singer Daniel Armbruster assumed the role of the cool nerd, but he didn't register very high on the cool meter.

© Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher • countrystandardtime@gmail.com

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