Last night (Aug 25) saw the debut performance of Chaos Planet at the intimate Courtyard Theatre venue in Shoreditch, London. Except it wasn’t just Chaos Planet’s first gig – it was a secret show by one of Britain’s hottest bands of the moment, Bastille. And when we say hot, we mean it quite literally.
The band posted a cryptic event description on the Dice ticketing app in the days leading up to the gig, detailing how ‘Chaos Planet’ met at an owl sanctuary where they serenaded an owl named Laura (Palmer perhaps?) who flew too close to the sun (hmm, just like a certain ‘Icarus’…), and played their first gig in Durban (a reference to ‘Durban Skies’ from debut album ‘Bad Blood’) on July 14 (Bastille Day). And the name? Apparently Chaos Planet reflects their “deep respect for David Attenborough” – that, and the fact that it’s a synonym for Bastille’s forthcoming new album, ‘Wild World’ (to be released September 9). Clever, clever boys.
Dan, Chris, Will and Kyle took to the stage in tie-dye Chaos Planet tees at 9:30pm in The Courtyard’s dark, cozy (and already very warm) venue, launching straight into three of their biggest hits, beginning with a slow, stirring version of their first smash, ‘Pompeii’. From the start it was clear that this was going to be a special night for band and fans alike.
They then propelled straight into ‘Bad Blood’, the room set alight with fans chanting the words at the top of their lungs while the stage was bathed in dramatic red light. After ‘Laura Palmer’, singer Dan Smith gave his first address to the audience. “Fucking hell it’s so warm in here,” he stated. “If I pass out feel free for someone at the front to just pick up the mic and carry on.”
The band thanked the audience for coming several times during the show, and for figuring out the “really subtle” hints. They then played tracks from the new album, including ‘Fake It’ (where Dan held up a light-up speech bubble with the track’s title, given to him by a fan), and ‘Send Them Off!’.
Despite the sweltering heat, the crowd was barely still for a second and Dan radiated energy that flowed through tracks like ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ and ‘These Streets’ as he jumped and danced along with fans, toweling dry between songs and even passing said sweaty towel to a fan to borrow.
Dan declared new song ‘The Currents’, a reaction to the absurdity and rise of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, and was “a massive fuck you to anybody that abuses the position they have to say things that are divisive”, and then launched into the fist-pumping guitar-heavy ‘Blame’, also on ‘Wild World’.
During ‘Of The Night’ the band got everyone to crouch down low before jumping in unison at the explosive chorus. Other highlights included the propulsive ‘Icarus’, and a rather steamy performance of new track ‘Two Evils’.
After another new track, ‘Snakes’, the band had to pause the show for everybody to leave the room to cool off for a few minutes, to ensure everyone’s safety amid reports of some fans feeling faint from the heat. Their return to the stage came with ‘Pompeii’, after which the band thanked the audience again for a show they described as “fucking amazing” – but saying, “for you this has probably been the worse one ever,” in reference to the temperature.
The fans couldn’t disagree more, though, with everybody singing the band’s praises as they cooled off outside at the end of the gig. “It was brilliant,” agreed Amina and Julia, citing new tracks ‘Warmth’, ‘The Currents’ and ‘Good Grief’ as highlights. Reem and Bea, who hit the jackpot leaving with the setlist, drumsticks and Dan Smith’s sweaty towel, added ‘Blame’ and ‘Send Them Off!’ to the list of favourites, as well as ‘Fake It’.
The set list had also got a bit sweaty during the show, but this didn’t put off these fans. when asked what they were going to do with it, they replied: “Keep it forever. Rub it on my face.”
Catching up with Dan after the show, he told NME: “Our one and only Chaos Planet gig was probably the sweatiest gig we’ve ever played but it was fucking amazing, and people came and yeah – it was incredible.”
You can see this and other highlights from last night’s show on our Snapchat feed: nme_snap
Catch Bastille live this autumn on their UK tour, which kicks off on October 28.
Words: Ella Atcheson