For the last show of their current tour and their last show of the decade, Bastille rocked up at The Winter Gardens in Margate for their ‘Doom Days Club Nights’ tour. In support of their third studio album ‘Doom Days’, originally released in June this year but re-released as an extended version just six days previously, this time around Bastille were making sure they were playing their shows in more unfamiliar towns and cities.
On the South-East coast when the wind was tipping lorries and the sea was crashing against the seawall just feet away from the back door of The Winter Gardens, Bastille packed out the century-old venue with a sold-out crowd. The first act of the evening was dedicated entirely to their new album ‘Doom Days’. The band took to the stage, welcomed by huge cheers from the crowd who’d waited patiently through a pre-set DJ mix instead of any traditional support act.
The album was played from start to finish, in sequence with ‘Quarter Past Midnight’ opening the set. The band took up their places and Dan stood atop a huge turntable before he leaped (and it was a huge leap) from it onto the front of the stage. ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘The Waves’ followed before the beat dropped for a quite extraordinary ‘Divide’. With a crash of cymbals, a haunting piano melody and Dan Smith’s smouldering vocal, the song gripped the excitable, youthful audience as one with arms swaying aloft in the crowd.
In his Day-Glo yellow ‘Just Vote’ t-shirt and backward facing baseball cap, Dan ran, jumped and skipped across every inch of the stage. ‘Million Pieces’ preceded a sombre and dark ‘Doom Days’, with Dan sat spinning on the turntable, on a sofa, spray painted with DOOM DAYS on the back. ‘Nocturnal Creatures’ followed before Bastille’s charismatic lead singer disappeared momentarily. He re-appeared seconds later stood with mic in hand at the front of the East Wing Balcony to sing out ‘4AM’.
Dan spun once more as he sang out the reflective ‘Those Nights’, and then Bastille closed out the first act with the anthemic, rousing high notes of ‘Joy’. The band returned for act two, ‘Chaos Planet’, with Dan now sporting a tie-died top and red hair. Their first tune of act two was the song that accompanies the John Lewis Christmas ad, ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’. The somewhat unlikely cover version of REO Speedwagon’s 1984 hit went down a storm with Dan giving it a slightly darker slant than on the studio version.
Bastille added in a new song, ‘Admit Defeat’, before returning to a trio of songs that would raise the roof on the Winter Gardens. Dan left the stage to walk through the crowd as he sang crowd favourite ‘Happier’, before returning to the stage to perform the song “where it all began”: ‘Of The Night’. From the first xylophone notes, through Dan’s stirring vocal, the crowd sang out in unison. Dan got the audience to dip down together before lifting them up to bounce as one. As he pounded the bass drum, jumping in time with the crowd Dan looked like he could go all night but there was to be only one more song. ‘Pompeii’.
The Winter Gardens in Margate played host to a great band on fine form as they showcased their latest album as well as favourites from their back catalogue. Dan Smith made for a captivating front man as he commanded the stage for his final, extraordinary, performance of the year.