Live Review: Wild Beasts, Bristol O2 Academy


After the release of two critically acclaimed albums this year from East India Youth and Wild Beasts, the pairing made for a live show that was an ensemble of soaring synths.

As East India Youth took to the stage, William Doyle was not held back by the night’s first of many sound issues, with his performance showcasing why he is much more than just a laptop musician. Doyle’s debut album ‘Total Strife Forever’ was brought to life on stage, filling the room with his dynamic mix of pulsing bass and melodic guitar riffs. Although his set lacked the punch of a live drummer, the oscillation of styles was almost hypnotic with each track becoming more memorising than the last.

The initial shaky start to proceedings continued as Wild Beasts struggled with their synths, which failed to kick in twice on ‘Mecca’, leaving no option but to briefly put things on hold. However, the eagerly awaiting crowd weren’t fazed, as in the wake of the successful release of their fourth album ‘Present Tense’, a dip into the electronic with stunning results – a little lateness can be excused.

Quickly moving past sound issues into standout tracks ‘Sweet Spot’ and ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’ the slightly claustrophobic setting was filled with the delicious blend of synths and frontman Hayden Thorpe’s haunting vocals. The crowd of loyal fans were not disappointed with older tracks such as ‘Hooting & Howling’ and ‘Reach A Bit Further’ being effortlessly slotted into the set, showcasing the dynamic interplay of vocals between Thorpe and co-frontman Tom Fleming. The mix of generations that made up the crowd was an example of the band’s musical progression, with their latest album being a complete transformation of style. Taking this into account their set seamlessly mixed tracks from ‘Smother’ and ‘Limbo, Panto’ alongside the more experimental sounds of ‘Present Tense’.

Despite the technical difficulties running throughout the night, Wild Beasts soon had the crowd forgetting all about them with a polished set of thundering synths to a backdrop of impressive lasers. There is no doubt that they are band at the top of their game with no sign of losing momentum anytime soon.

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