“DON’T worry, it’s just Buckfast,” said Wild Beasts lead singer Hayden Thorpe, jokingly pointing to his ambiguously murky pint. The band quickly won over the crowd with their self-confessed infatuation with Edinburgh but most of all because of their endearing modesty.
Support came from BRAIDS, a Canadian four-piece who provided a fittingly ethereal, heartfelt set. Although, with songs lasting over eight minutes, it was easy to lose concentration.
However, as soon as Wild Beasts took to the stage, their presence was established, as an excitement slithered around the room. Thorpe has a striking falsetto voice which holds the attention of everyone, in awe of such fragility. This is balanced with the husky, earth tones of Tom Fleming, the band’s second singer, as well as the overall musical performance, which is strikingly assured. They look like any other indie band: rolled up jeans, smart shoes and good haircuts to match but their music is delicate, complex and surprisingly poetic. The connection between the members is also refreshingly apparent as their shared creativity is clear throughout their set. They are thoroughly engrossed in their passion for music and its special to watch this unfold.
In 2008, they received critical acclaim which included a prestigious Mercury Prize nomination and an array of rave reviews. This year, they returned with their third album, Smother, and it holds up well. The set glimmered with truly beautiful, drawn-out romanticism, as every note was played with a genuine intensity. The band handled their music carefully, orchestrating a melodic, almost hypnotic set which was addictive to watch.
A preoccupation with love and sex took charge of most of the songs, with the visceral and often touching lyrics matching the physically captivating performance. The band created a noticeable atmosphere as their sincere and serious stage presence dignified their sound. This authority created a strange, yet unique balance with their subtle vulnerability.
The band seemed charmingly warmed by the reception they received, but it was truly deserved. From this set it is easy to see why even bigger things are predicted for Wild Beasts.