For our first concert since the pandemic, we spent a lovely evening at Bournemouth International Centre watching Bastille. One of us had seen the group several years before in Birmingham, so it was interesting to see their progression into the future. Initially there was a bit of a shock as the BIC mirrors a swimming pool and was a bit of a culture shock from Brum life, but soon the performances began and any worries were put to rest.
The crowds grew throughout the night, almost filling the BIC standing area for Bastille’s performance. Supporting them were The Native (from Plymouth) and Dylan. This is the best time to mention that we had been given balcony seats and were removed from the action below. I would recommend getting standing seats if you are able.
The Native were crowd pleasers, playing their own songs which, while they might not be known word-for-word by the crowd, felt familiar due the You Me At Six vibe of their music. Their alternative rock style warmed up the crowd and went well with a pint.
Next up was Dylan, who I had not heard of but who had a few dedicated fans in the crowd. She was like Taylor Swift but a bit more angry. She likened herself to One Direction and her ex-boyfriend to definitely not Harry Styles, so if angsty teen pop is what you’re after then it’s definitely worth checking out her music!
Bastille not only treated us to their age old bangers but also to a dystopian adventure which took lead singer Dan Smith to an alternative reality. A story brought to the audience with a stage-engulfing lighting grid, creating an infinite tunnel effect to draw eyes upon incredible abstract visuals.
Small Individual LED crosses came together to form a skeletal grid with a large presence. This open-plan structure meant that any mid-performance tech fixes that found techies crawling around the stage were revealed for all to see. We’ll let them off for now though, seeing as it was the opening night of their tour!
Although the theme was perhaps slightly too abstract and left me confused at times, it made for a fantastic spectacle, so that the performances were so much more than just sound.
The setlist included past favourites, such as Pompeii and Of the Night, but started and ended with songs from their newest album, Give Me The Future. Their final song, Shut Off The Lights, may not have been the volcanic closer most were imagining, but it felt apt following Bastille’s first in-person concert for such a long time. The line “Shut off the lights, we don’t need them to dance” was shouted back by the crowd with such passion that you could physically feel the excited energy to be back in an arena. We were even treated to their newest single (Run Into Trouble) which was due to be released at midnight, two hours after the concert had finished.
Being the first stop on their tour made it feel exclusive and intimate as you could see the initial and genuine emotions of those on the stage. It was overwhelming excitement and relief, mirrored by Smith’s enthusiastic skipping across the stage. He even threw himself over the barrier to party with the crowd to the chorus of Happier. It was all about bringing energy after times of relative depression, much like Bastille’s music itself.
Bastille are on tour until the 18th of April in the UK, and you can get tickets here.