I’ve been to TivoliVredenburg a couple of times before, but this was my first time in the “Grote Zaal”. It has a stage in the centre of the room, with steeply raked seating on all sides. When I booked our tickets (for Fiona and Abi and me — Alex wasn’t interested) it was clear that this was going to be a popular gig, because it sold out in minutes. But it was also on a school night, and there were going to be two support acts we didn’t know before the main event was scheduled at 21:00. We didn’t execute our Ziggo Protocol, but we didn’t show up super early to secure good seats, either. By the time we got there, the first opener (Charlie Barnes) was already on stage, and the only seats we could secure for the three of us in front of the stage were in the back row, tucked into a wedge between the wall and the ceiling.
I knew something was wrong with the sound straight away. It was harsh and unpleasant, and when Charlie Barnes spoke between songs I could barely make out his words. To Kill A King were the second opener, and it was even worse with them. High, snappy tones like the snare drums, cymbals cut through a wash of blurred guitars and vocals like gunshots. The applause between songs was even worse. It was like all the bass was being diffused before it reached to us, and all the treble was being concentrated and compressed into blasts of sound that I found physically painful.
Part-way through the set I left my seat to see if the sound was better elsewhere. I tried a few doors lower down in the auditorium, and to the back of the stage, where the view was worse and there were still spare seats. The sound was better but still not great. After To Kill A King left the stage I took my seat again in the hope that they’d been using a different sound system, and the engineers had been holding back the good stuff for the main event. Unfortunately, nope.
Abi had reassured me that it was OK if I wanted to move around and find a different seat, but I still felt reluctant to do so. But I also remembered a poor experience I had a few years ago seeing The New Pornographers at the Fox Theatre in Oakland when I didn’t move out of a bad seat, and didn’t enjoy the concert as much as I could have. Combined with the offensive acoustics, this pushed me into action. I left after a few songs, and found myself a spot slightly behind the stage with better sound, and a great view of Chris Wood on drums as well as the extra percussionist they had with them for this “Reorchestrated” tour.
The gig itself was fine. The extra musicians (horns, strings, percussion, choir) added depth and texture to the sings they played straight-up, and allowed them to deliver lovely alternative arrangements of others. However, this is the second time I’ve seen Bastille and not entirely enjoyed the experience. Hmm.
- Send Them Off
- Laughter Lines
- The Anchor
- No Scrubs (TLC cover)
- Two Evils
- Of The Night
- Cut Her Down (with Ralph Pelleymounter from To Kill A King — together they are the band Annie Oakley Hanging)
- These Streets
- Things We Lost In The Fire
- I Know You (Craig David collab, minus Craig David)
- Fake it
- Laura Palmer
- Good Grief
- Get Home
- World Gone Mad
- Weight of Living, Pt I