Bastille, Grizfolk stun Aragon audience

By Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

Pop band Bastille and rock newcomer Grizfolk stole the hearts of thousands of fans at their electrifying sold-out show on Oct. 21 at the Aragon Entertainment Center, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave.

Grizfolk, an up-and-coming rock band based out of Los Angeles and Stockholm, Sweden, opened the show with confidence and vibrant pop-rock songs that brought the crowd to its feet. The band formed in L.A. in 2013 after two Swedish producers met a singer/songwriter from Florida whose musical vision was similar to the one they were looking to create.

The band ran on stage bursting with energy, opening the set with “Waiting for You” and “The Struggle,” two songs off of its EP From The Spark, released Feb. 25 by Virgin Records.

Each instrument blended together to create a strong cohesion that ignited a charged response from the elated audience. 

“This is our first time in Chicago, sing with us,” said lead singer and guitarist Adam Roth before, launching into “Vagabonds.” 

Throughout the show, Roth consistently belted out strong vocals and had the crowd screaming, “We’re still vagabonds” back at him with great spirit and conviction. The band closed its 40-minute set with a powerful rendition of its most popular song, “Hymnals,” which made the crowd go crazy.

One thing was made incredibly clear as Bastille took the stage 35 minutes later: The band has developed a massive following of dedicated fans throughout the last year. Bastille formed in London in 2010

after singer/songwriter Dan Smith decided to turn his music into a full-band project, and the group released its debut album Bad Blood on Sept. 3, 2013 from Virgin Records.

The British natives stormed the darkened stage amid a wave of static sound and exploded into its opener, “Things We Lost In The Fire.” The stage was fully equipped with a theatrical design, including a large triangle-shaped screen—recognized as the band’s logo—and a flashy

light show.

The violent drumbeats bounced off the walls as the band went on to play “Weight of Living, Pt. II” and “Laura Palmer.” Smith leapt around the stage, flailing his arms as he danced along with the crowd. Between songs, Smith excitedly gushed to the crowd, “This is completely insane.” 

Halfway through the set, Bastille turned to an unreleased song, “Blame,” which will be on a second album set to drop next year. The new tune had a much heavier rock influence compared to those on the first album and the crowd loved every second of it. 

With Smith running around the stage and pounding his fist on his chest to the heavy beat of the drums, there was never a dull moment. But even when the band slowed things down with “Skulls,” the crowd remained fully engaged as they lit up the venue with their lighters and cell phones. The sea of cell phone flashlights backlit Smith’s low, sultry vocals, creating a magical ambiance for the crowd.

“In case you haven’t noticed, we have some incredibly depressing songs,” Smith said as he set up in front of a keyboard and started the opening chords of “Oblivion.” 

When the tempo picked up with “No Angels,” the crowd responded enthusiastically, jumping higher and singing louder. The band responded with crisp, cohesive “Oh’s” during “Icarus,” complementing the deep percussion line in the song. At the end of the set, Smith threw on a gray hoodie and leapt off the stage, running through the crowd and up a few flights of stairs to the balcony, where he paced around chanting the lyrics to “Flaws.”

Bastille returned for a three-song encore with “Get Home” and “Of the Night.” Grizfolk returned for the last song of the night, “Pompeii,” to help chant the iconic “Eh-eh-o, eh-o’s” that ring throughout the song. The audience passionately sang every word to the popular tune and screamed louder than ever as Bastille triumphantly trotted off the stage at the end of the song.

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