CLOSING proceedings on the ‘Big Top’ stage last night (June 11) was indie-rock band Bastille. Our man Nathan Salt was amongst the crowd to give his take on Dan Smith and co…

The day started with MNEK and would end with Bastille inside the increasingly popular Big Top tent.

It felt like somewhat of a homecoming for the indie-four piece; not because they have strong ties to Manchester but because they have been Stateside for the past two years touring their debut album ‘Bad Blood‘.

They began their set at a time that crashed into the final moments of the EURO 2016 fixture between England and Russia – a disappointing 1-1 draw for the home nation in the end.

Clad in his England 2016 jersey, drummer and Plymouth Argyle fan Chris ‘Woody’ Wood patriotically showed off his colours regardless of the disappointment he was feeling moments before entering the fray.

That, however, did not deter the masses as the Big Top provided perfect competition to Main Stage closing headliner The Chemical Brothers who, from a distance, appeared to put on a visual production spectacular.

“We’ve got a lot of noise to compete with,” said lead singer Smith. “But, let’s have an amazing time together Parklife!”

Having been away from British fans for a substantial period of time, many simply wanted to reminsicne and hark back to that 2013 debut album with tracks such as ‘Things We Lost In the Fire’, ‘Flaws’ and ‘Bad Blood’ all creating mass hysteria early on.

Yet, their set would be as much about new material as it would old which always dilutes the atmosphere because nobody knows the words to the songs – something Smith was quick to apologise for but claimed it had to be done at some stage.

With a second album not too distant in the future, fans got a taste of a similar, yet distinctly different sound, with tracks like ‘The Currence’.

A stand-out moment in this set was the stripped back performance of ‘Overjoyed’ – a much slower track on the first record.

Strikingly similar to Years and Years when they played ‘Eyes Shut‘ – the piano driven track allowed the audience to serenade the Londoners magnificently with the Big Top proving that ballads do not equal boredom.

To compete with The Chemical Brothers, Seth Troxler, Kaytranada, and Chase and Status is an unenviable task for any headliner.

Current music trends – particularly amongst this Parklife crowd – tend to lean towards a bass-heavy taste.

Smith and co however proved that those Bad Blood memories all rush back in an instant.

One of the most unique male vocals in the business resides inside Smith and mounted with so much expectation, this was a set that had all the elements any Bastille fan could have asked for – plenty of old stuff but also a look at what is ahead for the boys.

Until next year…

By Nathan Salt

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