Writing about Wild Beasts is a difficult task. A band like no other, they are impossible to place into any sort of identifiable genre. The four piece stand apart from most modern bands and defy the stereotypical sound you expect to hear from a young white British band and tonight in The Academy their eccentricities make for an extraordinary live show.
The band arrived on the scene with debut album Limbo, Panto that sounded more cabaret than Camden. Singer Hayden Thorpe’s falsetto vocals howl and thrash their way through the album. Two Dancers, the band’s second album was a shade less flamboyant and proved to be more listenable. It’s understandable why Wild Beasts aren’t everyone’s brew of choice; Thorpe’s voice is bound to be as irritating to some as astounding to others
Opening tonight with -The Fun Powder Plot’, a drum driven atmospheric track, it is clear that the four young men that are honed in their craft. The band draw on songs from both albums -Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’ is an early highlight, a tour de force in which Thorpe changes hastily between absolute orgasmic vocal ecstasy and brief infantile bawls. Bassist/guitarist Tom Fleming handles plenty of vocal duties too and his rich tenor is a perfect complement to Thorpe’s wild falsetto. -Please Sir’ is a slow ballad that builds up to a beautiful pleading harmony. Other highlights of the night were a bewitching rendition of -We Still Got the Taste Dancing on Our Tongues’ an encore of -Hooting and Howling’.
Despite both vocalists appearing to spend the majority of the night outside their comfort zone neither of the two voices missed a note throughout, although this may be expected at the top end of live music – the wide ranging nature of some of the howls and yelps on Wild Beasts tracks means tonight it is impossible not to be impressed by their efforts. The only disappointment was that they didn’t play for longer.
Photos by Abraham Tarrush: