Live Review: Wild Beasts

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Story+ Photographs / Ericka Clevenger

Thursday night I got the opportunity to see Wild Beasts at the Echoplex thanks to Domino Records. The British quartet have only played in Los Angeles twice before, but seemed very comfortable with the crowd. They expressed nostalgic nature in their return and happily cracked jokes with us all evening. There was not as many people as I had expected at the show, which turned out to be a great thing. Everyone had room to groove to the music in their own space, and no one seemed to be stuck behind the giant sound booth cranking their necks. Although its easy to assume that the number of attendees express the global depth of a band, I can easily say this is not the case with Wild Beasts. As many of us local music lovers come to know, the LA music scene can become a sheep herding event. Despite the venue selling out, the amount of people dancing to the music, vs. the normal “Im too cool to dance” was undeniably greater. The people who attended the show were there because they really wanted to be there, and therefore the entire evening was fun and positive.

They opened with “Lion’s Share”, off their second album Smother, released in May 2011 through Domino records. Any audience talking ceased to exist, as frontman and bassist Hayden Thorpe placed a spell on the now blink-less crowd using his enchanting falsetto, and mere naked voice. Thorpe’s voice, perfectly paired with Tom Fleming’s louder, huskier register, creates a perfect harmony between the two of them, and the rest of the band. Lion’s Share is a prominent example of the perfect mix of challenging instrument changes, within the realms of an accessible pop song. Proving the ability make a simple, danceable song,  but with enough literary thought to have the song mean something to you.  These are true artists, who are not only dedicated to the studio aspect of creating a multi-dimensional album, but also complete devotion to the performance aspect as well.

So many times I have listened to albums, and when it comes to the live show, I am utterly disappointed. This was not the case with the Wild Beasts show, and in fact it was quite the opposite. Every single member was enthralled with their instrument, and playing with the passion and devotion that a true artist must have. Like dissecting a heart in science class, removing each individual member and examining the beautiful nature of their ability to layer, piece by piece until you have a rich song that makes you linger on it. Here is a band that truly has the technical aspect of the performance down, creating the lively, emotion filled essence of their studio album, right there on stage. No crazy fog machines (Although I do love fog) no over the top light show, just raw music that every member passionately plays without missing a beat. The emotion and energy that is passed between Thorpe and Fleming during the songs, is seamless and beautifully harmonized. They have a uncanny ability to compliment one another, without dominating the other’s sound. Their voices almost seem to melt together, creating a beautiful unification of devoted harmonies. The way they harmonize and layer, reminds me of the Local Natives (Who were also at the show showing their support).

They ended the set with “End to come soon” a seven minute ambient song, that everyone can relate to. Weather you picked up on Thorpe’s facial expressions, and mirrored them with your own experience, or closed your eyes and were whisked away to a far away place, this song stands for the nature of our young lives. This song has so many dimensions, it is almost like time traveling from different moments in time. The song starts quiet and smooth, as it builds upon itself until it winds so tightly, it has no where left to go but to explode and fade away. Like your first love, so passionate that it has no choice but to end. With that said,  the show ended and everyone ran out to make their own music of the night.

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