Bastille @ o2 Academy, 29 January 2019

There is a certain electricity that is seemingly infused into every song and stage that Bastille touch. Their masterful ability to splice together wildly different sonic elements paired with their lyrical content that is both poetic and ironic gives the band an edge that that has launched them to stardom. Hitting the road, Bastille opened their Still Avoiding Tomorrow Tour with back to back sold out shows at the O2 Academy. Lucky enough to catch them on their first evening Bastille delivered an electric performance that morphed time and frayed the corners of reality, transforming the evening with their electric sound and high-octane energy. 

A cloak stretched over the stage, masking the inner workings of Bastille’s stage creation. This seems to be a common theme when Bastille curates live shows, a little bit of mystery masks the ecstatic electronic tinged sound. The cloaked remained as the lights grew dim, the blackness overtaking the crowd. After what felt like a lifetime a disembodied voice hummed, swirling into a cacophony of sound. 

Warped the voices and shapes evolved, ‘Wild World’ blasting through to open the night. The electronic infused pop rock song shifted the energy, fans dancing wildly as each sonic moment boomed through. Bastille is a band that creates moments, and this time capsule of epic proportions was the perfect way to kick off the night. 

Still cloaked ‘Quarter Past Midnight’ streamed through. The strong base anchor and infusion of electronic pop gives the song a sort of blossoming feel, breathing and undulating under the shifting sonic elements. As Dan danced around the stage a TV screen sprayed lyrics, matching the vocal rollercoaster. At the climatic moment the cloak dividing band from fans fell, an enthusiastic shriek as fans where no longer separated from their idols. 

‘Send Them Off!’ continued to pump in energy and enthusiasm; the pronounced horns masked by the screams of fans. After a groovy cover of Craid David’s ‘I Know You’ the stage morphed under red lights, ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’ spewed through bringing that dark sombre funk to the electronically tinged set. As Dan paced the stage the song morphed and moved, hands bouncing along with the rhythm. 

‘Lethargy’ and ‘Grip’ filled the room with futuristic and forward thinking sonic elements, Bastille mixing mid tempo rock with heavy electronic spikes. Both records displaying that perfected layering of genre splicing sonic elements that Bastille is so good at. A punch of energy came as fan favourite ‘Warmth’ floated in. As Dan’s vocals danced wildly around drummer Woody’s creation a city landscape burst on the backdrop creating a visual and sonic stimulus that was intoxicating. The city melted into a pink and blue lightshow, as guitarist Will took centre stage the sweet elongated notes of ‘Blame’ and ‘Weapon’ collided. Both records have a hint of edge, a sort of dangerous dystopian feel that highlights the rock ingenuity that is often infused into Bastille’s sound. 

The screen flickered and a clock popped up with the time 4:01 blinking. In perfect symbiosis the opening chords of ‘4AM’ echoed through the room. The sombre intro shifted under atmospheric electronic weight bringing about a club like dancing hysteria. The fans morphed into a mass of dancing bodies reflecting the electric energy spewing from the stage. The intensity died down a bit as an acoustic rendition of ‘World Gone Mad’ brought a poetic breath to the night. As the room was illuminated by the lights of fans phones, time seemed to stop, a moment of blissful peace filling the otherwise rambunctious evening. 

The lull did not last long as energetic rock filled ‘The Driver’ and ‘Bad Blood’ brought the party back to life. ‘One Evil’ and ‘Daniel Den’ were followed by ‘Pompeii.’ Under a melting kaleidoscope of colours the massive hit ‘Pompeii’ brought about a frenetic energy as fans danced in pure ecstasy. Continuing the climatic build ‘Good Grief’ was followed by ‘Laura Palmer,’ the set eventually coming to a bombastic end with ‘Of the Night.’ The short encore found the band back on stage ending the night with ‘Happier’ and ‘Flaws.’ 

In an explosion of energy Bastille shifted time, ripping the framework of reality their opening night of the Still Avoiding Tomorrow Tour was nothing less than epic. Curating a night that was visually stimulating and sonically transcendent Bastille owned the O2 Academy room delivering a performance that will not be soon forgotten. 

 

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

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