LIVE REVIEW – Wild Beasts at the Union
Everyone’s favourite Cumbrian band – Wild Beasts – come down to Soton and rock the casbah, (very, very literally in the case of the Union’s ageing Garden Court ‘Ballroom’). With […]
Everyone’s favourite Cumbrian band – Wild Beasts – come down to Soton and rock the casbah, (very, very literally in the case of the Union’s ageing Garden Court ‘Ballroom’).
With just two sets on tonight we had the Montreal-based Braids opening for our intrepid heroes. I had no idea they were playing because SUSU (‘Thou Student Union’) is now apparently so environmentally conscious that they didn’t bother printing any programme posters or even listing them on their website, (yay! for professionalism). Despite this and *zero* ventilation, the Union saw a (mostly) enthusiastic crowd and a packed venue.
Whilst I guess that both bands could be categorised as ‘art-rock’, I am not sure why the very shoegaze-y canadians were picked to open for the much more folk/indie Wild Beasts.
Apparently Braids are out promoting their latest album, Native Speaker. They seemed to believe that its great idea to fill the inter-song gaps with drone-synths and screaming reverbs: a tactic whose sole result was to prompt the crowd to whip out their phones for a quick round of Angry Birds. I’ll give them props for effort, but nothing about their 40 minute set was at all inspirational. Sorry.
By the time when Wild Beasts kicked off their set the 500 person capacity Garden Court was near-packed. For those of you that are yet to hear of the highly acclaimed northerners, their sound is pop-y, falsetto-ridden and baroque indie rock. In a world dominated by the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Strokes-style lad-rock, they are rare breath of fresh air. Opening with a brilliant rendition of Bed of Nails, the crowd soon picked up and atmosphere quickly recovered from Braids. We also had frontman Hayden Thorpe unleashing his shrill, frilly falsetto tones ripping into our minds with an early on brilliant rendition of Funpowder Plot. It made for a strong contrast to bassist Tom Fleming’s deep baritone as he expertly made all of the loose fittings in the ancient Garden Court vibrate with encore piece All The Kings Men.
Ever-welcoming, the Southampton crowd performed well too, with some epic random clapping, (“Confusing for us, but impressive nonetheless” quipped Harding), some half hearted attempts at a mosh, (no, just no), as well as wolf whistles for everything Thorpe said. My personal favourite: some lad at the back screaming “HAYDEN, YOU’RE A SEXY BITCH!”, “Er, thank you. Southampton’s well know for its sexy talk…”
For a band that’s very synth-driven and whose sound is dependent on very complex cross-rhythms, I was impressed how well they performed live. At times slow, but with mostly heart-racing rhythms they played to a crowding that not only had clearly shown up just for them, but were clearly loving it. A great performance that helps me not completely give up on Southampton’s music scene.