Music Reviews

“It’s Gonna Be Weird Tonight” – Live Review: Bastille @ The Level

Amy Child

To celebrate the long-awaited release of their fourth album ‘Give Me The Future’, Bastille paid a visit to Nottingham’s The Level to play an intimate gig for fans. Despite it being only Dan Smith and Charlie Barnes, the two gave a fun and interactive performance which I thoroughly enjoyed. Give me the future? I’d rather you take me back! Amy Child reviews.

The Level is a snug venue located deep in Nottingham Trent territory, which I infiltrated for the sake of Bastille. The indie band has long been one of my favourites and I leapt at the chance to see them live, having adored all three of their earlier albums: ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Wild World’ and ‘Doom Days’.

A personalised, interactive experience for the audience

The newest edition, ‘Give Me The Future’, breaks the mould not only by its non-alliterative title but by its sci-fi futuristic theme, which seems a continuation of ‘Doom Day’s’ spiral into the apocalypse. From the gig’s outset, Dan assured us that “it’s gonna be weird tonight” and he was certainly right. This was not a concert you could imagine being performed identically night after night, but a personalised, interactive experience for the audience. It was a little improvised- a little rough around the edges- and that was what gave it its authentic feel.

it was incredible seeing them perform such a short distance away from me

The show opened with Happier and I couldn’t be happier to be there. Dan was recovering from a throat infection and apologised that he couldn’t sing because of it, but to me (and to the rest of the audience, I’m sure) his raw, emotional voice sounded as brilliant as always.

Being close to the stage in such a small venue, I had a proper view of Dan at his keyboard and Charlie with his soundboard and guitar. It was incredible seeing them perform such a short distance away from me. But the performance was not just for the fans gathered. Bastille were also live-streaming the event to fans around the world.

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In a number of ways, the show was personalised for the audience. Bastille took song suggestions to play a couple of their lesser-known tracks (including Power and Laura Palmer). Between songs, they engaged in down-to-earth, friendly conversation with the audience which made us feel like one big family. There was a small Q&A section in which Dan confessed his love for Pret A Manger and Charlie admitted to having once gone to a classical concert by himself.

But best of all, when playing the titular song of their new album: Give Me The Future, Dan and Charlie improvised in the middle by singing the weird dreams of audience members. It was a bizarre idea but a lot of fun to watch. I definitely think they pulled it off.

At times I was a little perturbed by the heavy use of autotune to create a robotic effect on the vocals. However, this was done sparingly and contributed to the futuristic style they were aiming for. Charlie’s harmonising back-up vocals put a fresh spin on many of their best-known songs, such as Pompeii and Good Grief, which were performed a tad slower than in the recordings.

Though the slower pace did reduce the energy a little, this variation on songs I’ve heard countless times was one of the main joys of experiencing Bastille’s music live. The atmospheric smoke and colourful light beams enhanced the experience even further.

It was a brilliant detail which made the audience feel involved

Towards the end of the gig, I found myself slightly disappointed that they had not played my favourite song from the new album: Shut Off The Lights. However, when Dan announced that he was going to sing the most upbeat song on the album, I knew exactly what we were in for.

Bastille recorded a short audio clip of the audience singing the song’s chorus line: “Shut off the lights, we don’t need them to dance!” and replayed it over the chorus whilst they performed it. It was a brilliant detail which made the audience feel involved. I could tell that Bastille really appreciated the fans, and that the fans really appreciated them, which created a chill and positive atmosphere. I am delighted that I got to attend this gig and finally fulfil my dream of seeing Bastille perform live.

Amy Child

Featured image courtesy of Amy Child. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image courtesy of Amy Child. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

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