On the last night of their two-week stripped back UK tour to promote their new album ‘Give me the future’, Dan and Charlie Barnes, from Bastille, shuffled onto a minimal stage in what I can only describe as ‘their comfies’, hoodie and cap.

Margate Winter Gardens is a beautiful theatre on the seafront dating back to 1911, the bar area littered with vintage show posters and memorabilia from past performers (to note one, the Beatles), once named UK’s top 10 most beautiful music venues it was clearly a great place to end this intimate tour, with grand chandeliers glistening overhead and minimal production, this show is NOT the big shiny Bastille show one would expect, but a brave choice to sit with just instruments, charm and let’s be honest one metric bucket load of talent.

They walk on stage and sit down amongst a setup of electronic equipment split on each side, reminiscent of a studio bedroom setup. No hello or acknowledgement to the eager sold-out crowd, but a hum of almost Accapella electronic vocals starts, while a man does laps of the stage with a bright red phone on a gimble. – This content had better be Oscar-worthy when it comes out because it was very distracting throughout the show.

It was at this point – ‘how am I going to be an optimist about this’ crossed my mind.

Won’t lie, a few looks of ‘erm so what is happening right now’ were exchanged but the minute Dan stood up, grabbed his mic and gave a warm ‘hello Margate’, the energy shifted as if we were all in on a special secret, a once in a lifetime raw moment together, 2 lads from Bastille and about 800 fans.

‘This is unlike any Bastille you will ever see’ Dan says, ‘We’ve been travelling up and down the country playing this show for the last two weeks and we’re still messing this up, this is the last time we get to play our songs out like this and we’re sad about it’, ‘This will be more like a Q&A but with music’

What followed was exactly that, the two became more and more endearing as they laughed, swore, and played through a setlist of both new, old and even songs created there and then using content collected from fans entering about what they dreamed about the night before – absolutely manic, hilarious and thoroughly entertaining.

The classics were played stripped back, without backing tracks, a vocoder and loop peddle were used to create depth of sound and it truly felt that this may be the only ever time the songs would be played exactly as we heard them.

They joked with the audience about tech errors, our expectations for upbeat dance-worthy classics that they were about to play downbeat versions of, answered questions and even sang happy birthday to a 9-year-old round – Big vibe.

Show highlights were ‘The barn dance version of Happier, you never knew you didn’t need’, played early in the setlist a slow ‘Good Grief’ which had everyone singing along and ending with some audience participation they taught the crowd the pre-chorus to their latest single ’1 note, 10 words’ which they recorded and looped to create a beautiful effect which quite frankly had us singing ‘Shut off the lights we don’t need it to dance’ all the way up the seafront to our respective houses.

The show did its job, utterly enamoured with the two musicians and have been playing the new album on repeat.

Check out all 13 tracks of ‘Give Me The Future’ on all streaming services or I dunno buy it if that’s one of those vintage things you do to support artists. A great booking from local indie record shop Elsewhere, alongside Margate Live, whose programming is something to always keep an eye on if Margate is based or if a regular Kent coast visitor.

Written by Lucca Joy


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