Wild Beasts @ Manchester Cathedral 16.11.11

Indeed, Wild Beasts’ sexually charged themes might be at odds with Manchester Cathedral’s sanctity tonight, but my word, what a pairing it’s turned out to be. The riveting clicks of ‘Devil’s Crayon’ are the only sounds we hear from Limbo, Panto tonight, but what lacks in their wonderful debut, is made up for their richly resounding follow-ups. “Please forgive me,” Hayden apologises as he holds his drink to the roof. With a set like tonight, there’s nothing to apologise for Hayden.

Nov 16th, 2011 at Manchester Cathedral / By Alex Yau
Wild Beasts Opener ‘Bed of Nails’ sets the night in opulent tone: idiosyncratic Talking Heads rhythms prove just how dance-y Kendall’s finest sons can get and in the resonant halls of the Cathedral, it sounds so much more captivating. Meanwhile, ‘We Still Got the Taste Dancin’ on our Tongues’ proves that, after years of touring, they’ve sharpened their live show to a fine point. ‘Albatross’ meanwhile adds menace to their set as Hayden, who’s on top form tonight, curses: “I blame you, blame you, for all of those things I’ve been through,’ and hand in hand with Sky Larkin’s Katie Harkin on keyboard, it’s nothing short of profound.

“This is a panto and Tom’s the dame,” Hayden jokes. It’s a statement that rings true because the vocal partnership between Tom’s thick baritone and Hayden’s piercing falsetto is the true staple of the night. The idiosyncratic blips of ‘Reach a Bit Further’ sees them both trading lines romantically as Tom Fleming submissively sings: “Yes, I will do all the things that you ask of me.” It’s ‘With all the Kings Men’ where Tom really comes into his own though. Amongst its galloping bass line, Fleming becomes a whole different monster: insanity suddenly erupts in his voice as he eccentrically shrieks “WATCH ME, WATCH ME!” If tonight’s proof of anything, it’s that the pair are the best singers in modern indie.

‘Loop the Loop’s angelic chills fits the surroundings perfectly, whilst an upbeat ‘Hooting and Howling’ bounces around the walls with melodic grace. ‘End Come Too Soon’ finishes the set: feedback hazes throughout, a heavy bass roars through building and Hayden screams like it’s the end of the world. The only question tonight is: Why the hell didn’t they get a Mercury nomination?