Wild Beasts

O2 Brixton Academy, London on Tuesday 1 April 2014

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It's been somewhat of an unusual trajectory for Wild Beasts, having taken four albums to find themselves on stage at Brixton Academy. In these days of instant exposure followed by years in the wilderness, it's rather refreshing to see a band slowly make a name for themselves, deservedly earning more and more praise throughout the years.

Make no mistake though, this platform that Wild Beasts have carved for themselves is richly warranted, largely down to the extraordinary talents of co-vocalists Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming. What makes them such a fascinating and beguiling proposition is the contrast between the two – by rights, Thorpe's angelic falsetto should not work alongside Fleming's delicious croon, yet the intoxicating interplay between the two throughout the evening is a joy to behold.

Whilst much of the focus tonight is rightly on the two frontmen, it would be scandalous to neglect the extraordinary talent of drummer Chris Talbot or the understated Ben Little, whose intricate guitar playing perfectly complements the minimalist approach of the band,

Although much of the set is centred around the glorious new album 'Present Tense', there are huge reactions to older favourites such as 'Hooting and Howling' and 'All The King's Men', both of which have suddenly transformed into the most unlikely of anthems. It's quite a sight to see such a large crowd yelling back every single word, seeing as how with lines like "a crude art, a bovver boot ballet, equally elegant and ugly", this isn't exactly Oasis.

At the heart of the band lies a seductiveness and sensuality, yet it's the despairing and sinister 'Daughters' and 'A Dog's Life' which prove to be the real highlights of the evening, with the former seeing the stage lit up by an enthralling laser display.

If there could be one criticism, however slight, it's that the band seem reluctant to unveil anything from their debut album, with only 'The Devil's Crayon' to show tonight, which seems to be included almost as an afterthought. However, if the reaction is anything to go by, there is an evident thirst for both old and new.

The encore reaches its peak with a triumphant rendition of 'Lion's Share', with it's piano-led crescendo somehow sounding both equally haunting and euphoric. As the show reaches it's climax, each song is greeted with thunderous applause and cheers, which sees the band evidently taken aback, but it's time they got used to it.

Tonight's show seems very much like a celebration – a toast to the fact that a gang of misfits really can plow their own furrow and reach the top without compromise. Expect the victory lap to go on and on.

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article by: Craig Jones

published: 02/04/2014 18:48