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Live Review: Bastille @ Brighton Centre, 01/02/19


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Bastille have burst back onto the music scene with an added pop of colour with their 'Still Avoiding Tomorrow' tour.

Bastille via Wiki Commons

Ahead of their new album, Doom Days, and in celebration of their latest mixtape, Other People's Heartache pt. 4, Bastille have kicked off their third UK tour; one that was much more vibrant than any that came before it. 

The show opened with a sheet hiding the stage, the question 'Still avoiding tomorrow?', washed in red. This projection then switched to a grey digital clock, reading the time 23:59, and hiding lead singer Dan Smith's entrance onto the stage. A spotlight revealed Smith's arrival and the crowd cheered at the sight of him - this was quickly followed by murmurs of surprise as he began to play the slow and lesser-known track, 'Wild World (Intro)', on the piano. This mellow opening was the first hint that this was not going to be a typical Bastille show - the production and symbolism created an entirely new level, complimenting the metaphorical lyrics of their songs. 

Any doubts about the tone of the show were quickly vanquished once the rest of the band joined Smith on stage for 'Quarter Past Midnight'. The projection on the sheet changing to show some of the prominent lyrics, before dropping down to reveal Smith in a brightly coloured shirt, his head completely shaved. 

The surprises kept coming as the band played some of their recent collaborations: Craig David's 'I Know You', and Seeb's 'Grip'. While Bastille do have a reputation for experimenting with their sound, these two dance tracks stood out in the way they fitted into the classic Top 40 repertoire. It was a rather jarring experience, as they were separated by the Wild World track 'Send Them Off'. 

Smith then ran to the back of the stage, collapsing onto a brown sofa, with his hand gripping his forehead. He began to sing '4am'; a new song that we can assume will be their next single. Slowly the sofa began to spin, revealing the words 'Doom Days' scribbled across the back. This moody track complimented Smith's pained expression as he sat forward, avoiding looking out to the audience.

The sofa remained at the back of the stage, revealing the upcoming album title for the majority of the show. After a few more songs, Smith invited Lewis Capaldi on to join him for a song. The Scottish lad had won the audience over with his humour and incredible voice during his earlier performance, and so received a welcome cheer, despite ruining his entrance by eagerly bounding onto the stage too soon. The pair had great energy as they sang 'Bad Blood' together, Capaldi singing verses that were meant for Smith and the two sharing embarrassed, apologetic laughs. 

After Capaldi's feature, the show really began to gain momentum. A sequence of upbeat classics ('Pompeii', 'Good Grief', 'Laura Palmer' and 'Of the Night') tumbled after one another. With each track the audience became more and more together, singing and jumping during each chorus, despite the slightly hesitant start. The band then reached their crescendo and played 'Warmth (Outro)', signalling the end of the set, just as it closed their mixtape. 

Bastille managed to merge the old and the new with relative ease at the Brighton Centre. Unlike some bands, they refuse to forget their roots by maintaining their traditions of crowd interaction during live performances. The brightness of the production suggests a more vibrant era for the band, and has left fans hungry for that ever-promising party album.

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