60 Million Postcards Bournemouth
12 March 2010
I first saw Wild Beasts back in 2008, where I was assured by an overenthusiastic and evidently warped member of the Foals street team that they would be "the weirdest band you'll ever see, ever." It was pretty clear by about one song into their set that they weren't quite as unconventional as he had let on, but what I had definitely stumbled upon was a great new band, more than worthy of gracing the stage in the hours before Foals' Antidotes tour. With falsettoed dual vocals which spend more time out of their comfort zone than within it - Hayden Thorpe somehow manages to put his stunning singing voice through an awe-inspiring workout within the conventional realm of listenable music, without making it sound like scales and/or some sort of modern X Factor pop caricature. Whilst there are times that Wild Beasts music breaks into a steady pop beat, the vast majority of the music smoothly makes its way along - accompanied rather than manipulated by a complex set of alternately-tuned drums.
Live, their second album Two Dancers couldn't have translated better; neither of the two voices missed a note throughout, and although such a feat is commonplace in the top end of live music - if you've heard just how wide ranging some of the 'hoots' and 'howls' of Wild Beasts discography are, and taken into account equally the kind of stage manouevres and instrument switches which take place fluidly, and without second thought - you'd be impressed beyond my reasonable doubt. The band played through a huge range of material that definitely outsmarted me, and if there's one thing i'll take away this gig other than a great deal more respect for the Domino Records signees, it will be that Limbo, Panto is a 2008 album that passed me by, and something involving a new Amazon order needs to be done.
The scratchy and at times theatrical demos and recordings which their previous efforts entail have calmed themselves second time around, and as with any serious band - they've matured along the way. With ardent passion and a look of seasoned accomplishment, Wild Beasts assimilated their efforts increasingly as the show went on, climaxing their natural build up pre-encore with 2009 single Hooting & Howling, before returning three minutes later with their fullest track yet Limbo, Panto's Devil's Crayon. Like The Invisible gone before them in January, Wild Beasts made fun of captivating the rarely treated Bournemouth audience into a state of inspired awe, simply by starting their set off tame and mild before taking a darker turn into the euphoric sections of their album material. 60 Million Postcards seems to know exactly how to pick fantastic live bands, and although it doesn't have a great amount of options with location so close to the South Coast, its yet to fail in my eyes to pick a band which has left its audience with its feathers ruffled.
Wild Beasts - The Funpowder Plot (MP3)
Wild Beasts - The Devil's Crayon (MP3)