WILD BEASTS / Oxford 02 Academy / 11-11-2011
Nearly a whole week after the gig, I start writing up about it.
Wild Beasts in Oxford were supported by Canadian band Braids who have an ABSOLUTELY fantastic drummer (he had glasses on and kept having to adjust them). Luckily, their atmospheric sound seemed to actually work in a venue as pocket-sized as Oxford, their nearly-7-minute-songs would possibly fall flat in a bigger space.
When watching Wild Beasts, it’s enjoyable to watch and listen to the minor things. Hayden’s banter mainly stayed on the side of “We like Fridays, especially SWEATY ONES LIKE THESE,” or “This is Katie, she’s our fifth limb. BUT NOT IN THAT WAY.” Also, this band are HELLA GOOD at swaying. I even have evidence in a .gif:
Imagine that, but CONSTANTLY.
The night was almost exclusively made up of albums Smother and Two Dancers (With the exception of The Devil’s Crayon and His Grinning Skull), beginning with the Bed of Nails, featuring the famous (within my friendship group at least) “SEX NOISE CHORUS, YES MATE.” The addition of Katie Harkin, previously of Sky Larkin, as their fifth limb initially made me sceptical. I (stupidly) thought that a girl wouldn’t fit in with a band so focussed on male vocals and lyrics such as “girls between me, you’re birthing machines” but feel free to track me down and punch me in the face as I was TOTALLY WRONG.
Tom Fleming and Hayden Thorpe came together to play an intimate ‘Albatross' which made the photographers scrabble to the front. It was a rare moment when the audience was completely silent. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful I find this song/I had a moment.
If I hadn’t got teary-eyed enough already, Tom whacked out THE VOICE for Limbo, Panto song, The Devil’s Crayon. I’m listening to it now and crying. That’s all you need to know.
After the loudest request for an encore I’d ever heard (EVEN LOUDER THAN KYLIE AT HURTS) they played Lion’s Share (that’s a live clip, OH YES.) with Tom’s voice completely encapsulating the whole venue during his whole section of fifteen words, followed by audience (and personal) favourite All The King’s Men. Introduced with a simple, quiet “this is our single about fucking” before exploding into the gallant screech of “WATCH ME, WATCH ME!” complete with Fleming’s foppish hand gestures. Never before have I been more excited to sing “girls astride me, girls beneath me, girls before me,” and I don’t think I ever will again.
wat a babe
Altogether, Wild Beasts are a strange combination of demure and bizarre. Between songs Hayden got through about 2 glasses (glasses) of red wine, yet Tom didn’t seem to be able to stop skipping and jumping about. The concluding song was End Come Too Soon, which definitely reflected the crowd’s feelings. Clocking in at nearly 8 minutes, it was a fantastic finish complete with strobes and Hayden’s falsetto screaming of “END COME TOO SOON”, but not before he’d had a little sit down with a glass of wine.
Blurry picture evidence that it actually happened:
SERIOUS MOMENT LOOK OUT: I regret not seeing them earlier. It’s hard to describe how good they actually are using words that don’t really mean a lot such as ‘atmospheric’. Their songs linger on the fence between sensual and brilliantly, creepily baroque. They seem to be sincere enough to deliver lines such as “This is a booty call/my boot up your arsehole" with the audience completely taking it all in and swaying along.
Basically, from the WTF-ness of Assembly to the sincerity of Deeper (check the swaying) :