Wild Beasts
Wild Beasts © Naomi Dryden-Smith

Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts

Roundhouse, London

5th Oct 2016

Louder Than War photographer Naomi Dryden-Smith went to the second of two sell-out Wild Beasts gigs at the Roundhouse

Looking as relaxed as four blokes off down the pub, Wild Beasts stride onto the darkly lit stage and launch straight into the very catchy Tough Guy, filling the Roundhouse with its slow-dragging beat, sleazy synths and brooding lyrics: “Now I’m all fucked up and I can’t stand up, So I better suck it up like a tough guy would.” It’s a great start. Momentum slows with We Still Got The Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues, from the Mercury-nominated Two Dancers album which first highlighted Wild Beasts as a serious band to take note of (in competition with the likes of Everything Everything and the xx). A song about lust and lasciviousness all sung in Hayden Thorpe’s indominatable falsetto, the hedonism of the subject matter is a little at odds with its slightly stilted presentation – the band are pretty static at this point (perhaps they will loosen up later on).

Wild Beasts

The third song, Ponytail sees Tom Fleming suddenly become a bit animated and the place is filled by his rich pleading baritone (it might put Rick Astley in mind, although the band would likely deny it), in striking contrast to Hayden’s falsetto. We are back on their favourite topic – sex – enhanced by the funky bassline and pitch shifts. As the song ends, Thorpe asks the audience “So how are we doing?”, which one might construe as revealing some degree of uncertainty. But it’s met with a raucous response, so that’s a relief.

Wild Beasts

Three songs gone and photographers have to leave, this time without seeing the rest of the show. Yet to come is a mix of songs from the recent album Boy King, peppered with more established fan-favourites. The overall energy so far isn’t that high – neither from the band nor the audience – but Wild Beast’s songs are clever, crafted songs that lend themselves to contemplation rather than jumping around. It must have been said before but there isn’t too much of the particularly wild or beasty about this band – but the fans seemed to be very happy with their lot. With songs like Big Cat in the offing, the rest of the set shows some promise.

Setlist
1. Tough Guy
2. We Still Got The Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues
3. Ponytail
4. A Simple Beautiful Truth
5. Reach a Bit Further
6. He the Colossus
7. Hooting & Howling
8. Mecca
9. 2BU
10. Lion’s Share
11. Big Cat
12. Wanderlust
13. Alpha Female

Encore:
14. Get My Bang
15. The Devil’s Palace
16. Celestial Creatures
17. All the King’s Men

Please note: Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you wish to use/purchase or licence any images please contact Naomi Dryden-Smith at nomeshome@me.com

“Boy King” was released on 5 August 2016. You can keep up to date with Wild Beasts on Twitter, Facebook and their official website

All words and photos by Naomi Dryden-Smith. You can find more of Naomi’s work for Louder Than War here, and she tweets as @nomeshome. Also on Facebook. Naomi’s Photography portfolio can be found here

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