After a spot of typically warm-hearted verbal sparring of the kind many visiting English bands like to indulge in with a Scottish crowd, Wild Beasts singer Hayden Thorpe attempted to explain where Wild Beasts are coming from. “Growing up in the Lakes there wasn’t a lot going on,” he said, referring to the group’s youth in Kendal, “so we formed a band”.
Summerhall, Edinburgh ****
Their sound is one seemingly born of such isolation, of collecting distant influences and bringing them together in a manner which gives them their own personality. Last year’s Boy King was their fifth album in eight years, and its aesthetic pervaded the show, from the neon lights streaking through the darkness of Summerhall’s Dissection Room to the giant, darkened boy’s face towering over the band, features picked out by eyeslits of burning red. The crunchy electronica of the record and its conceptual exploration of modern masculinity was just as close to the surface, from the thunderous, thrilling bass beats of He the Colossus to the squalling, industrial rock of Tough Guy and Alpha Female’s dense, irresistible funk.
It was a raucous, lively party, although the high points of an exemplary catalogue were explored in a manner which didn’t slow the mood, with Thorpe’s vocal gliding through Hooting & Howling and the lithe, prickly closer All the King’s Men. There were no lulls and every song was well-met by the crowd; a fine demonstration by a band whose glory days are still going strong.