by / July 11th, 2010 /

Oxegen 2010: Wild Beasts, Hurts, The Minutes, Mayer Hawthorne

Day two and the numbers have swelled considerably. Two Door Cinema Club’s set on the main stage actually sees more people at headliners Arcade Fire the night before at 3pm in the day. The brown sludgy mud has also swelled but with the hope of a sunny Sunday in our hearts we trek on.

The Minutes provide a rush from the off with some energetic garage rock ‘n’ roll. The Dublin band have improved each time State has seen them and today in the Red Bull Stage it’s no exception, they’re tighter than ever. Imploring the crowd to forget about the big bands, they launch into some no nonsense but high-calibre garage-rock tunes including new single ‘Fleetwood’, ending in a bout of screaming into the guitar which gives us the jolt to the system we really need.

It’s a real pity that California’s Mayer Hawthorne doesn’t play outside and in the sunshine. We have to make do with constant rain all Saturday instead. The weather dulls his set somewhat, which we guarantee, if more people were aware of him and it was a good day, his white soul-boy croon would have been a highlight for many. As it is, about 50-100 people are giving a shit and loving it. Everyone else is at Florence and the Machine. Mayer and his tight and funky band The County do a mean cover of ELO’s ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ and finish with his own standout ‘Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out’. Another case of wrong festival, right band maybe?

Wild Beasts‘ burgeoning popularity seems to be more of a word of mouth affair than anything else. Their falsetto-driven rhythmic art-funk is not the kind of thing you’d expect people to rave over but it’s happening more and more, no doubt aided by the band’s impressive live sets. They’ve got strange harmonies, dual vocals, heavy-bass, grooves and Hayden Thorpe’s aforementioned falsetto, which is utterly operatic and posh-sounding. It all adds up to make a unique band and Wild Beasts are that. There’s even nods to Afrobeat amongst their set alongside the most obvious highlight ‘All The King’s Men’.

Hurts are another anomaly today not least for their sharply suited stage attire. The duo bring a bloody OPERA SINGER! Top that Wild Beasts. Looking like Bros if they were wiser and more noble in the musical stakes, the music is ’80s-heavy brooding pop from the Ultravox ‘Vienna’ mould. The whole thing feels like an upmarket pop package, especially with the singer Theo Hutchcraft’s prissy stage demeanor; restrained, hand on heart movements and re-buttoning up his blazer in-between songs. Standouts include ‘Happiness’, ‘Wonderful Life’ and ‘Better than Love’ and ‘Silver Lining’ which contains the words “the rain’s going to follow you wherever you go.” It’s a good set but hard to see how people will truly love this band.

Photo: Kyran ‘O Brien

  • David Walsh

    The Wild Beasts were fantastic on Saturday, i couldn’t believe how good they were live! I have listened to both of their albums and i was sad when i missed the chance to see them in Galway. But i couldn’t miss-out on this opportunity(sorry Dizzee). I was jumping, clapping, raving and singing along with them through-out. Me and my friend had longed to see them and we couldn’t have enjoyed it any more, and i think the band even noticed our enthusiasm as we ran in to see them. I and my friend can’t wait to see them again some time, as it was one of the best performance at Oxegen.