'I Want You To Love Me' - Wild Beasts, Sheffield Foundry, 01/10/2016

by - Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Gloucestershire band Ardyn waste no time in proving why they are so fit for tonight's support slot selection. Two of a set of triplets, their literary, folklore-heavy approach to songwriting glistens with the knowing of pretty heartbreak, Katy's delicate yet deft voice recalling the likes of Joanna Newsome or Rae Morris. 'The Valley' is a standout, destined for the sort of 6Music play that should see them grow a steady fanbase over the next year or two.

So far so reasonably chipper, but tonight's second band are quick to dash any lovelorn hopes you may have had. 'We're Money and we're here to bring your daily dose of negativity' intones Jamie Lee, a deadpan expression leaving the crowd somewhat unsure as to whether he is being serious or not. Their question is never really answered - whilst it's true that they do bring about as much joy as last orders in an empty pub, there's something quite cathartic about their downtrodden sea shanties that reflect on the bitterness of existence. They only grow as their set progresses, forcing the chatterers in the crowd to grow silent as Jamie proves himself to be quite the captivating frontman, lost in a bubble that owes a lot to the grey skies of The North in which they were born - shades of Doves, Elbow, The Verve and something entirely their own all come together to create something very memorable indeed. 

Wild Beasts have always been purveyors of agonising tension, but the near ten minute intro and the knowledge that the last train home is in 50 minutes and counting pushing their extended intro to an almost painful wait. Eventually they surface, and it's worth the wait - 'Big Cat' has a decided swagger and they play it loose and low, setting the bar for tonight's highly-charged aset.

Sticking mainly to the same selection of new songs as showcased in Boy King's warm up gigs earlier this year (but all the more rewarding for their new-found familiarity), they show an aggression and in Hayden's case, a decidedly Kanye-like approach to their performance, almost challenging the viewer to break eye contact with their cinder-block guitars, stark lighting and dancehall-worthy gesticulation. Even the old tracks benefit from this approach - the skittering breakdown of 'We Still Got The Taste Dancin On Our Tongues' sounds near on industrial, and the sensual longing of 'Mecca' feels newly menacing next to the ominousness of '2BU', a brave live choice considering it's off-kilter beat. An already very intimate venue, Tom edges closer to the crowd, eyeballing the front row as he threatens 'I want everything/You know that I'm the worst'. He's a man at the height of performance, and yet there is a playfulness that lingers in the air, essential to the Wild Beasts experience - always flirting on the edge of danger, always pulling back right before you get too close. 

Unfortunately for us and our unreliable mode of public transport, this close has to be close enough, and we retreat back through crowds before the encore has even begun. From what we've seen, we remain confident that our favourite band are still at the peak of their powers - while this risk in new style may have alienated some, it feels like solid proof that they might finally be living up to their name.

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  1. Best band from the UK and best albums they launch. Such big fan of them and I love when they get so many success. Much love and best wishes to them