Written and Images by Rhiannon Farr
Celebrating the release of their fourth album Give Me The Future, Bastille made an explosive return to Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena for the first time since 2016. Interestingly, the band made extensive use of a large screen onstage which absorbed us into the futuristic concepts of their new release, as well as using it to project lyrics and close-ups of the band members. Their performance began with introducing Future-Inc, a fictional corporation (not unlike the one shown in Pixar’s Wall-E) which would be a staple in the overall immersion of the set and returned several times throughout the night. Following this, Bastille made their entrance onto the stage with roaring applause from the audience and started their set with ‘Stay Awake?’, followed by ‘Distorted Light Beam’: both from their new album. Lead vocalist Dan Smith greeted us in Welsh which was very well received and encouraged us to ‘use our beautiful Welsh voices’ to sing along to the next song, ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’. This was a hit with the audience- the first couple of songs were fairly slow-paced so Bastille managed to hype us up with an incredible performance of this song from their Bad Blood album. Continuing with the songs from their debut album, their next performance was ‘Laura Palmer’, followed by ‘Oblivion’. I was very excited to see ‘Oblivion’ live as it is my favourite Bastille song so I was a little disappointed when they changed the song’s key, but it was nonetheless a beautiful rendition of the song and it slowed down the set appropriately.
After ‘Those Nights’ and ‘Quarter Past Midnight’ from their 2019 album Doom Days, it was time for another interlude using the onstage screen which prefaced the bulk of their new releases. Dan introduced these songs and informed us that the first one to be performed, ‘Back to the Future’, was his personal favourite from the album. The next song, ‘Plug In…’ was rather sobering with its themes of AI control, climate change and the patriarchy, but it fit the tone of the album very well. I wasn’t too familiar with ‘WHAT YOU GONNA DO???’ and ‘survivin’’, but these were followed by their hit single ‘Good Grief’ which got the crowd going wild. Dan introduced it with “like every [Bastille] song, it’s very depressing” which I found hilarious then quickly realised how depressing Bastille’s lyrics are in comparison to their tunes and instrumentals. ‘Good Grief’ was one of my favourite performances of the night and I think anyone who attended the gig would agree. There were three men standing next to us wearing matching T-shirts in memory of their friend Nick McHale, and seeing them embrace each other during this song made me consider how impactful Bastille’s music really is.
Bastille then performed the titular track from their new album, ‘Give Me the Future’, and followed this with ‘4AM’ and ‘No Bad Days’, with everyone in the arena waving their phone torches in the air in true slow song fashion. After another interlude, the band returned to some of their more well-known tracks: the first being a rendition of ‘Happier’, their 2018 collaboration with Marshmello. Having reached #16 in the UK Top 40 Charts, it was unsurprising that the audience absolutely loved this performance, myself included. After ‘Run Into Trouble’, their collaboration with Alok, Bastille performed another of their charting hits, ‘Of the Night’, which proved equally as popular as ‘Happier’. This club classic debuted at #2 in 2013 and it was perfectly placed in the setlist: quickly building up the audience’s energy before the end of their set. These tracks were nostalgic for all the right reasons, and it was brilliant seeing Bastille take us back to the 2010s with these performances.
The set came to a close with ‘Future Holds’, a piece from their new album which reintroduced the futuristic and existentialist themes conveyed throughout the gig. Concluding the main set was arguably their most popular release, ‘Pompeii’. The crowd was insane during this performance – it stood out to me the most and it made an already incredible gig even better. The band paused to let the audience sing along to the bridge and I could tell that Dan and everyone else onstage were soaking up the electric atmosphere. Even nine years after this breakout release, ‘Pompeii’ is still one of Bastille’s most beloved songs and the reaction of the crowd proved this. The encore used the visuals of the screen, brilliantly emphasising the talents of their crew, which Dan showed appreciation towards as well as the support acts and the band itself. He encouraged us all to sing along to the two songs of the encore, ‘Hope for the Future’ and ‘Shut Off the Lights’. Bastille brought Native, one of their support acts, onstage for the final song, which was a great way to end the night.
Having been a casual listener of Bastille since their Bad Blood days, I was really looking forward to finally having the opportunity to see them live and they did not disappoint at all. Their set was a perfect blend of new releases and old favourites, appealing to every member of the audience. I can’t wait to see what Bastille does next and I’m looking forward to their eventual return to Cardiff.