Two high-reaching acts graced the Air Canada Centre this past Friday night for the Wild Wild World Tour – atmospheric rockers Mondo Cozmo and UK indie popstars Bastille.
The spirit of 90s alternative looms large over openers Mondo Cozmo. An accurate description of their sound would be “Sam Roberts fronting Achtung Baby era U2“. Frontman Josh Ostrander even looks like Sam himself. Among the uplifting songs was a cover of The Verve’s classic “Bittersweet Symphony”, which fit right in with the band’s oeuvre.
The momentum continued with headliners Bastille; frontman Dan Smith has enough energy for ten people stored in his slender frame. Not only did he constantly bound from one end of the stage to the other, but several times from one end of the arena to the other. He ventured out into the crowd no less than three times, once performing an entire song while on his odyssey through the screaming fans.
The visuals on the massive screens were made to resemble a news corporation, Wild World Communications. Smith used them as sort of a counterpoint to his music- where the world pushes fear and “fake news”, he offers optimism and hope in his tunes. Tunes that have been missing for quite a while.
It’s been four years since the last album Bad Blood, but Smith is nothing if prolific. New album Wild World has a monster 19 tracks, so he had plenty to pick from. “Congratulations if you got through the whole thing,” he quipped with his trademark self-effacing charm. Smith ran through a selection of instantly memorable, polished tunes that immediately scan as Bastille songs. It’s a distinct combination of UK singer-songwriter melodies, Smith’s pristine vocals, and galloping rhythms made for places like the Air Canada Centre. None were too far removed from what the band’s released in the past, but several new production tricks that have popped up since 2013 have been incorporated into the Wild World songs. Pitched vocals, multiple percussion tracks, and samples blend well with the Bastille brand.
In fact, new songs like “Blame”, “Fake It” and “Glory” drew louder screams from the audience than some of the older material. It seems as though Smith’s craft has been honed into a winning formula. The glossy, streamlined tunes drew wild applause all night long.
The set concluded with the always reliable hit “Pompeii”, with its iconic chant and drum fills. As usual, Smith allowed for the crowd to finish off the end of the song. It was a communal experience that brought the entire arena together and finished off the night with a feeling of unity.