Bastille's Dystopia

"And I don't think that's a selfish want, I really don't. I'm not saying I have this capacity because it's hard to develop that capacity on your own, when you're being stopped at every turn" Fake It, Bastille


Normally I title these gig review posts with the name of the tour or the artist or something 'normal' like that. But, for this one, I felt that it needed to have a little bit extra. Not least because they're an incredible band but just because never have I, in the thirty-something concerts I've been to, seen such great ideas and artistry projected on stage.


The word 'dystopia' springs to mind when talking about the stage graphics and design, all news screens, CCTV and raw videos - the bleak insight into life connecting well with their dark and depressing material. "My friend has that time-hop app" says front-man, Dan Smith, "and he sent me todays one and, 5 years ago today, we were playing a tiny bar in Camden... Now we've headlined two shows at the O2; that's incredible". And, when you think of it like that, their success really is phenomenal. Relying on no reality show or major support roles, just them, their talent and pure creativity. It really is a very special show and I'm now wishing that I'd bought tickets for both O2 dates, just to be able to re-live it again.


The concept of WW COMMS is not only branded across their tour merchandise, but is also the linking factor between their support acts and the main show. Usually, the O2 plays comparable music videos to the artist performing before they arrive on stage. This show was very different. A green screen with the actor from the 'Fake It' video running over his lines, eating a banana, bossing crew members around etc. kept the growing crowds entertained and introduced each support act as the newsreader for WW COMMS. This concept is pure genius; transporting the crowd to an somewhat alternative universe. The headlines all feel so very real - weird as they are so depressing but by no means shocking. Bastille really do reflect upon the dismal news stories and way of life we seem to be involved in right now.


Smith acknowledged on stage that their songs weren't exactly happy: "here's a depressing one; when I say that I mean the most depressing out of a pretty dark list" and it's true. Bastille's material isn't happy; but it draws us in because it is real and it is catchy with excellent vocals. A song doesn't need to be positive to sell, it just needs to be good and Bastille are a prime example of that. Mixing up songs from their debut album with tracks off their new one the set list was impressive: all the best bits rolled into one.

Send Them Off
Laura Palmer
Warmth
Snakes
Flaws
Oblivion
Lethargy
Things We Lost
The Draw
The Currents
Power
Bad Blood
Four Walls
Blame
Of The Night
Fake It
Weight Of Living
Glory
Good Grief
Two Evils
Icarus
Pompeii

It is somewhat relieving too to hear the frontman of a band admit that they're not at their best; it's new material and they're new to playing it life; "we're still trying to figure out how to play all this, how to make it sound good... and I'm working out how to dance to it too", jokes aside Smith's dancing isn't rhythmical or anything spectacular, in fact it's clumsy and all over the place but it's a visible aid to his voice, it gets the crowd involved and communicates to the audience how passionate he is about what he is singing.


Having been to many concerts of bands who are too big and too commercialised, it is refreshing to see that a band like Bastille can still get away with walking straight into the crowd to get from one stage to another - yes Smith may have had a pint spilled over him but he was unscathed - not something that could be achieved at a One Direction concert that's for sure. This interactivity with the audience makes the whole gig so much more special and personal; restoring my faith in live music.
On the tube home there was a group of men stood next to me saying how Dan reminds them of Jesus; he walks into a crowd and everyone's elated and part to let him through. "He's a messiah" commented one of them and, in an utterly bizarre way, it's true.


The Wild Wild World tour really is a piece of artistic genius; Bastille have really upped their game and they're such a refreshing sight in the music industry: self-written songs, impressive set design and relatable lyrics which, although depressing, really do relate to the world today - as Smith said: Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith) is probably the only song about the death penalty that we'll hear today... yet some how it works.

Find my full review of their album, Wild World, here