Music: Wild Beasts – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 24/11/11

Wild Beasts are one of those deceptively named bands like Howling Bells or Arcade Fire where you assume they’ll be loud, screamy and a little bit scary, when actually they couldn’t be more different.

Wild Beasts

I saw Wild Beasts at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire which is a really cute old theatre with tiered seating above and a ye olde feel. I’ve been there numerous times before for other gigs and I always enjoy the atmosphere as it never feels too crowded, despite the expected concert smell of beer and sweat – bleurgh!

Shepherds Bush Empire

I’d heard of, but never actually heard, Wild Beasts before this concert, but I’m always a one for discovering new music so when my lovely friend Pauper Princess invited me along I couldn’t turn it down! Mercury nominated in 2009, the 4 piece are very of the moment with the slow building, dark indie-rock that has taken over from anthemic, stadium-packers in the last few years. Along the genre that contains bands like The XX and White Lies, I’m not a huge fan of this type of music. It doesn’t tend to grab my interest as the beat is often the same without an exciting crescendo and the vocals are normally subdued and melancholy – good for break-ups and cold Winter evenings, but not always for a night out. But that’s the singles they release. You end up listening to an entire album and there is always at least one stand-out corker that reshapes the entire record and make you question your original opinion on said band. Wild Beasts are without a doubt like this. They mixed up their set perfectly which not only kept my attention but enabled them to show off their talents as a band, especially the amazing vocal range of the singers. 

I love it when a band considers their staging even when they’re in a ‘small’ venue (as in, not a stadium). I think this really shows that the band are considering the fans who aren’t in the pit, and Wild Beasts had a fun lighting show with a different colour or set-up for each song. They weren’t a particularly active band, so the lighting was definitely a great inclusion. The stand-out song for me was Hooting and Howling from their 2nd album ‘Two Dancers’ as it really got the crowd moving and involved and the band looked and sounded like they were having a blast performing it. 

Live pic courtesy of Gigwise

Wild Beasts aren’t exactly a band you’d dance around the room too, but they are the type of band where you listen once and then find that you’ve had the album on repeat the whole tube home, missed your stop but don’t mind as you get to listen to it again. They’re a grower, but a keeper.