Live Review

Wild Beasts, Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh

Wild Beasts seem to have reached that stage as a band where they can do no wrong.

There is a febrile atmosphere in the Liquid Room as the packed in crowd wait for Wild Beasts to take to the stage. With third album ‘Smother’ now over six months old it’s time to see how these wonderfully subtle songs have developed live after a summer of heavy touring. The band seem in a rather relaxed and jovial mood as they enter, singer Hayden Thorpe joking with the crowd about his ludicrously over sized pint of drink pointing out that it’s “just Buckfast.”

‘Bed Of Nails’ makes for a muscular opener and it is, in fact, clear throughout the gig that the understated rhythms and grooves of ‘Smother’ appear to have grown some teeth over the summer. Augmented on keyboards, as they have been throughout the year, by Sky Larkin’s Katie Harkin the sound is deceptively powerful; warm and enveloping, it’s particularly enthralling.

With a back catalogue of three albums to choose from Wild Beasts now have the ability to create a set high on dynamics and atmospherics, they never fail to hold the audience’s attention. They even have the luxury of performing some legitimate hits, and both ‘Hooting & Howling’ and ‘All The Kings Men’ sound particularly good tonight, the former blisteringly hypnotic and the latter causing a genuine sing-along.

It’s often mentioned how sex and carnal desires play a big part in Wild Beasts’ music and tonight, inspired by Edinburgh, which Thorpe refers to as “the most romantic place in the world,” their tender side comes to the fore. ’Deeper’ and an especially beautiful gilding version of ’Loop The Loop’ make a lovely sensual counterpoint to some of the more strident older tracks.

Despite the inclusion of over half of 2009’s Mercury nominated ‘Two Dancers’ album in the set it is the tracks from ‘Smother’ that are most interesting. You can hear a pin drop as they perform an elegantly understated balletic version of ‘Lions Share’, and ‘End Come To Soon’ is a perfectly named closer. It is in this song that Wild Beasts’ development as a live band is most evident as the music gradually rises on a wave of noise and effects to a blissful crescendo.

Wild Beasts seem to have reached that stage as a band where they can do no wrong and it is genuinely staggering how much love they receive from the crowd tonight. The band seem charmingly taken aback by their reception, but there is no doubt that they deserve it. Wild Beasts have stated that they are going to take a break at the end of this year and, on the evidence of tonight’s performance, they will be departing the scene at the very peak of their powers.

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