Another fantastic show, in a popular neck of the woods for Wild Beasts, saw the band joined by Sky Larkin’s Katie Harkin for much of the setlist, adding that little something extra on keys to give an even fuller sound to a rapturous live performance from the Kendal-based band.
A typically varied mix of tracks spanning the bands consistently fresh and vibrant three album back catalogue flowed effortlessly from start to finish. They’ve stuck with their inimitable style since their debut, a powerful, grandiose sound that combines classical, flawless vocals with epic, cleverly layered guitars, keys and unmistakable drums.
An understated band at the best of times, Wild Beasts kicked off the show with no introduction, instead letting the music do the talking. Beginning with the gentle Albatross, an intro’ track through-and-through (despite being rather out-of-place in the latter half of the album overall), the band quickly moved on into long-time fan favourite The Devil’s Crayon, it’s still as infectious almost four years on.
A few personal favourites later and I was again in the clutches of one of the most unique bands in years. The wonderful pacing of His Grinning Skull, not to mention Tom Fleming’s brilliantly baritone vocals, makes it one of their best to experience live. Deeper, This Is Our Lot and Loop The Loop soon followed, Katie Harkin disappearing and re-appearing for different tracks.
The band continued with more material from Smother and Two Dancers to a crowd that got progressively infatuated with the pitch perfect vocals from Fleming and Thorpe as well as the rhythmic drumming of Chris Talbot, a drummer whose use of the cow bell would make Blue Oyster Cult proud (see Saturday Night Live.)
Overall it was an assured and yet refreshing performance from a band whose popularity is growing slowly but surely. They’ve progressed from Norwich’s tiny Arts Centre to the middleweight venue in the city, The Waterfront and with a successful summer of festivals maybe they’ll be a household name?