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Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Smother

Wild Beasts at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s right here, in these very pages, the fact that I didn’t dig on Wild Beasts’ last record Two Dancers and only after some persistence was able to reach a point of understanding it if not appreciating it. But mayhap that exercise softened me up enough that even though it wasn’t as acclaimed as its predecessor, I took to this year’s Smother almost immediately and also put Two Dancers back into rotation. All of which is to say that while I had no problem skipping the band’s visit to the Mod Club last Summer, I was not going to be missing this year’s go-around last Thursday.

The quartet intended to make a dramatic entrance onto the stage but a technical hiccup a few bars into “Lion’s Share” sabotaged that, forcing them to sheepishly say, “hello” rather than just get into it but the net effect was endearing rather than embarrassing and it would basically be the only misstep the entire evening. Why did no one tell me how good of a live band they were? And while we’re at it, why did no one tell me that the swooping and swooning vocals on their recordings were not just courtesy of Hayden Thorpe, but also of Tom Fleming? Here I was thinking that it was Thorpe alone with the inhumanly multi-octave range, when in fact it’s both of them. Which is ridiculous. That they should both be equally adept at playing guitar, bass and keyboards whilst utilizing those voices is even more ridiculous. And that Katie Harkness of Sky Larkin was on board as touring keyboardist was just a nice surprise.

Trying to describe Wild Beasts live requires a lot of adjectives that are typically more suited to blue movies than live music, but that’s just how it is – it’s the sound of sex, however you like it, and quite the contrast from the sentiments of love that Elbow brought to town the night before.. Seductive and dangerous, romantic and rough, primal and sophisticated, they build off a deep, swaying groove heavy on toms and accented with exotic percussion and alternately powered by keys or guitars, their songs are lifted by the intertwined vocals of Thorpe and Fleming in a way that just induces shivers. They split the set about evenly between Two Dancers and Smother and threw long-time fans a bone with “The Devli’s Crayon” from their debut Limbo, Panto and apologizing for never touring their that album. So rhythmically hypnotic was their hour-long main set that when it ended with “Hooting & Howling”, you didn’t even notice the finale coming until it was done – you might say the “End Come Too Soon” but the band saved that one to wrap the encoure, which thankfully ran a good three songs and allowed you the time to mentally prepare to extricate yourself from the music’s embrace and ready yourself to go back out into the cold world.

Prefix, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal and The Daily Texan have interviews with members of Wild Beasts.

Photos: Wild Beasts @ The Mod Club – September 29, 2011
MP3: Wild Beasts – “Thankless Thing”
MP3: Wild Beasts – “Albatross”
MP3: Wild Beasts – “Loop The Loop”
MP3: Wild Beasts – “All The King’s Men”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Bed Of Nails”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Albatross”
Video: Wild Beasts – “We Still Got The Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Hooting & Howling”
Video: Wild Beasts – “All The King’s Men”
Video: Wild Beasts – “The Devil’s Crayon”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Treacle Tin”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants”

Billboard has posted their upcoming cover story on Florence & The Machine, whose much-anticipated Ceremonials is out on November 1.

Wears The Trousers points to a video session by EMA in Vienna wherein they reinvent “Butterfly Knife”; worth watching.

Exclaim and The Chicago Tribune have interviews and NPR a World Cafe session with St. Vincent.

Spinner, The Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News and Paste talk to Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 16.

Asobi Seksu recorded a session for Daytrotter, gave interviews to OC Music Magazine and The Vindicator and also posted up a Walkmen cover, well, just because. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 23 opening for Boris.

The Von Pop Musical Express interviews Juanita Stein of Howling Bells.

NPR welcomes Ryan Adams for a World Cafe session. Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre welcomes him for a show on December 10.

Gary Louris and Karen Grotberg take The Boston Globe down the long and winding road to the Jayhawks reunion.

The Illinois Entertainer talks to Craig Finn of The Hold Steady.

Men’s Health and The Sydney Morning Herald< talk with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco while The National Post gets some of Pat Sansone and John Stirratt’s time.

The Decemberists are still promising to take an extended break after they’re done working The King Is Dead, but that won’t be until after they’ve released the Long Live The King EP on November 1 – Exclaim has specifics.

Crystal Stilts are in town for a show at the Horseshoe on December 1.

MP3: Crystal Stilts – “Through The Floor”
Video: Crystal Stilts – “Through The Floor”

Okkervil River have released a new video from I Am Very Far, starring a very young Will Sheff.

Video: Okkervil River – “Your Past Life As A Blast”

Pitchfork takes Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks onto a New York City rooftop to play some songs. Or else.

The Quietus talks to Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.

NPR has a KCRW session with Fleet Foxes.

Salon investigates why, in a time when record labels are supposed to be dying, Merge Records are thriving.

By : Frank Yang at 8:28 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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  1. paul says:

    …saw wild beasts at the Horseshoe some time ago…very underrated band. Lyrically and sonically one of Britain’s best bands me thinks.

  2. Concert Review: Wild Beasts, Still Life Still, September 29, Mod Club | The Panic Manual says:

    […] for a dramatic opening was interuppted by technical difficulties, as noted by respected music blog Chromewaves in their review of the show. Hiccups aside, the band spend the next eighty minutes wooing the crowd […]