Third album’s the charm with Bastille’s “Doom Days,” performed in all its escapist glory at Mohegan Sun arena this past Friday, with American alternative band Joywave opening. That’s not to say the indie pop British band’s first two releases weren’t masterful in their own right, recorded and live, but the culmination of their thematic music was out in full force at their show last week. It also didn’t hurt that I was right in front of the floor’s barricade, center stage. With an energy fit for a stadium show or festival performance, I feel that I was lucky to not only have seen the band in a fairly intimate venue like Mohegan once, but twice. I can attest to the fact that the two years between their “Wild World” concert and last week have only further sharpened the ethereal quality of Bastille’s stage presence. Friday’s concert is just another sign that the band only has up to go from here.
Each of the band’s albums represent a unique, cohesive theme with “Bad Blood’s” cinematic playability and “Wild World’s” political motifs, and “Doom Days” was no different. The 11 tracks on “Doom Days” capture the emotional and chaotic turbulence of a party and night out. Each song is set at a different time in the night, starting with “Quarter Past Midnight.” The conceptual nature of the album translated to an atmospheric show that benefited from the wide range of emotions and sounds. Lead singer and writer of the album, Dan Smith, started off the show with the aforementioned single, setting the turbulent tone for the rest of the night.
The venue’s set-up was deceptively simple with a large screen backdrop, a rotating platform in the center, an old-fashioned TV set to the side and the band’s members scattered around the stage. In comparison, “Wild World” had a large, triangular collection of screens above the stage. However, as the show commenced, I realized the effectiveness of the set. The screen was sufficient in delivering bright and eccentric graphics that accompanied the songs, from a window showing the night sky to some of the lyrics to the songs. The show was set up between three acts, with instrumental intros played by drummer Chris “Woody” Wood, pianist Kyle Simmons and guitarist Will Farquarson and a clock on the screen displaying the time of night that the songs are set.
The band’s connection to crowd and fans fueled the inviting and intoxicating atmosphere of the performance. Right from the start, you can tell that the band has fun performing with each other, which in turn energized the crowd. All of the band members got to address the crowd and their music and they often riffed off of each other, making us feel like part of the show. During the sentimental “4AM,” Smith sat right on the edge of the stage, increasing the intimacy of the song and its emotions. He entered the crowd during the fan-favorite “Flaws” from the band’s first album, which is quite fitting for the song’s message of acceptance.
Bastille demonstrated a range of sound throughout the night with more upbeat songs like “Send Them Off!,” “Good Grief,” “Joy” and “Of the Night” and more sentimental and emotional songs like “Things We Lost in the Fire,” “A Million Pieces,” “The Anchor” and “The Waves.” The fact that the energy didn’t let down the whole night only elevated the euphoric quality of the music.
The stage set came into play with the melancholy “Those Nights,” as Smith sprawled out on a couch that was placed on the rotating platform, the seemingly increasing speed of the turning adding to the crescendo of the song about being alone. The dramatic “Two Evils” featured Smith sitting atop a staircase, center-stage with a spotlight. With Smith running from one side of the stage to the other and jumping off of the platform, Farquarson playing his own solos center-stage and Simmons goofing off with Woody, there’s no way you couldn’t get swept up in the apocalyptic chaos of “Doom Days.”
Bastille, along with a few other artists in the industry, is known as one of the token “existentialist” musicians, with surreal, melodramatic music that evokes an almost immortal nature – with songs alluding to Greek mythology, soaring orchestral and choir accompaniments and whimsical imagery, how could they not earn this title? The “Doom Days” tour, which captures all of these fantastical elements, shows that band has truly mastered the idea of, “the world is ending, so why don’t we have a good time?” If Bastille is playing during our demise, I guess I wouldn’t mind.
Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.