by Ian Storck
It’s a beautiful night in Madison, Wisconsin and The Sylvee is filling up as opener Josh Fudge, replacing Sarah Jaffe, takes the stage. Fudge’s set is starting a bit earlier than the listed time, but although the crowd continues to trickle in, it’s already at least 75 percent full for the sold out event. His set has a fun, pop-rock feel, with a lot of synth elements, offering up an 80s vibe, which the crowd has latched onto, already getting into the dancing mood for the night.
The stage setup for Bastille is unexpectedly large, as they bring with them a massive tiered stage, including walls of lighting, a giant video screen, and multiple cameras. The show opens with a vignette advertising Future Inc., a fictional virtual reality company that acts as the overarching concept of their latest release, Give Me the Future. Singer Dan Smith takes to the stage, with a spotlight and bright backlight from the screen as the group launches into “Stay Awake?,” a track from their new album, and followed by another from said album “Distorted Light Beam.” Throughout the set, Smith returns to a chair mid-stage, simulating experiencing virtual reality, as vignettes and segments surrounding Future Inc. play over the screen.
Despite being on a Wednesday, the show had weekend energy, and it seemed like the crowd never stopped dancing or singing along. They were very familiar with a lot of the tracks, even the new releases, and some of the biggest sing along moments came with “survivin’, ”Of the Night” (featuring the ultra catchy chorus from Corona’s “Rhythm of the Night”), and the Marshmello x Bastille track “Happier,” which had some of the heaviest bass I’ve ever felt at a pop show. During “Happier,” Smith jumped to the barricade, and into the crowd, singing and jumping with the fans through the pit and back up to the stage. His energy, nor the crowds, ever let up throughout the lengthy set.
One of the biggest highlights of the night for me was backing vocalist BIM. Her voice blended into the songs nicely, with amazing vocals for the song “Those Nights.” She took to the front of the stage, singing along with several more throughout the night, and her vocal portions garnered some pretty big cheers from the crowd, especially with a fantastic performance during “Future Holds.”
The main set closed out with the massively recognizable “Pompeii,” which opened with a slower version of the chorus, before launching into the main track. Observing the crowd from the back of the venue, I couldn’t see a single person that wasn’t either dancing, jumping or singing along. There were no surprises, as Bastille promised three more songs before “Pompeii,” and returned for their encore performances of “Hope for the Future” and “Shut Off the Lights,” possibly the catchiest track off of Give Me the Future. It was a fun-filled night of bright electronic pop, and I think even someone unfamiliar with the full discography would have an absolute blast.
Check out the rest of Bastille’s tour dates here.
Distorted Light Beam
Things We Lost in the Fire
Quarter Past Midnight
Back to the Future
WHAT YOU GONNA DO???
Give Me the Future
No Bad Days
Of the Night
Hope for the Future
Shut Off the Lights