Bastille on SNL: Uncomfortable


There’s only one word that can sum up Bastille’s Saturday Night Live debut, and it’s “uncomfortable.”

Here’s the thing: Bastille, like fun., is a band that banks on the enthusiasm of a crowd to propel them through the high point of their performance. Their most lauded singles are sugary, uplifting anthems with nary a minor chord between them that consist of more vowel-heavy utterances than actual words of significance, and these hits–fun.’s “Some Nights;” Bastille’s “Pompeii”–require audience participation in a live setting just as badly as they need Autotune in the studio. The hand claps and “AYYYY AY OH AY OH”-es drown out the mistakes and rev up the band, especially if frontman Dan Smith runs out of breath in the middle of a line. When Smith lifts a singular drumstick before pounding the tom to his left, he conducts the euphoric hysteria of the crowd before him, and the drumstick doesn’t look totally ridiculous and out of place when thousands of people fall all over themselves in anticipation of him beating something with it.

See also: “OMG Her Face!”: America Reacts to Haim’s SNL Performance

Take the crowd and their participation out of the equation and you’ve got a bunch of young dudes bouncing around a stage trying to hype up a room full of ghosts. And that’s exactly why Bastille’s SNL performance was an uncomfortable one, because they weren’t in their element, and they suffered for it.

That pins the tail on the can’t-look-away quality of “Pompeii,” anyway. “Oblivion,” thankfully, showcased Smith’s voice and musical prowess without the distraction of his awkward and erratic drumstick-wielding tendencies. The polar opposite of “Pompeii”‘s call to party, the sad and slow “Oblivion” requires less chaos and more contemplation, and Bastille’s ability to bring it down doesn’t rely on the gargantuan stadium setting and the crowd it supplies in the same way “Pompeii” does. The effects are the same on the SNL stage as they would be at Wembley, and we’re left thinking about what we just heard, not scratching our heads over what frenzied take on synth pop we just witnessed.

(Sitting through “Pompeii,” no matter how awkward it comes across on a tiny sound stage, is still leaps and bounds better than “Some Nights” in any setting. That’s our official position.)

How’d everyone else feel? The jury’s still out, though Smith’s gravity-defying ‘do raked in a few more compliments than “Pompeii” did. (If you consider a Robin Thicke comparison a compliment, anyway.)

Haim–dream girls from a few SNLs ago–were all about supporting their brethren in percussion-happy pop.

Still not entirely sure what this means but yes.

We do not disagree. (“Oblivion” and “The Scientist” are close cousins in the tortured ballad family, too.)



Bet they’ll be huge on Grey’s Anatomy, too.

Same but where’s Javert tho.

But did he use vegan hair products?


Op, wait, can you hear that? That’s the sound of a thousand bajillion fan fics being born.

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