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Show Review: Bastille takes fans “Back to the Future” in Mesa

Ever heard of Future, Inc.? The company that powers the Futurescape Dream Engine? Head to a Bastille show, and you’ll quickly become acquainted. 

The British four piece, who’s currently on their Give Me the Future Tour with Alice Merton, has themed their live show based on a fictional artificial intelligence engine that creates visual dreamscapes based on dream analysis. And it’s one of the more well executed motifs in recent memory. 

Even opening act Alice Merton was dressed for the occasion in a fabulous sheer purple two-piece that could pass for space-y/new age-y. Flanked by her drummer and guitarist—the rest of the band had visa issues, she said—she hit the radio favorites one by one and hyped up her upcoming album S.I.D.E.S., out June 17th. “No Roots” made an early appearance, getting the crowd moving despite the heat, and “Lash Out” showcased her energy and potential as a performer. Thanking everyone who showed up early, Alice Merton disclosed a confession: “I think I stole this line from the Joker.”  Closing with “Why So Serious,” she left on a high note. 

With all the equipment on stage (including a recliner for the dreams, of course) it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see Bastille frontman Dan Smith suddenly appear on the top platform to begin the headlining set. The AI was launching, analyzing dreams, and the band brought it all to life with bold colors, geometric shapes, bright lights, and other futuristic design elements. But they didn’t take it too seriously—one of the interludes between dreams was a notice of insufficient funds. 

The setlist itself covered the group’s ten year career with plenty of tracks from 2013’s Bad Blood all the way through Give Me the Future. Some memorable moments include the sea of flashlights during a beautifully haunting “Oblivion” and Smith walking through the crowd during “Happier,” which used a different beat than the recorded version. “Good Grief” had the whole pit jumping, as did “Of the Night.” But don’t be fooled—Smith warned that several of the songs “sound happy but are really fuckin’ sad.”

Wrapping up a tech-focused set with a song that’s a decade old is exactly the right “Back to the Future” vibe. “Pompeii” is still required listening, and arguably it’s required viewing, too. Don’t miss it. 

Check out all the photos from the show!

Story and photos by Taylor Knauf