Wild Beasts


Wild Beasts: A Love Letter

Ah Wild Beasts, you broke my heart. Being one of my favourite bands of the last decade, releasing two all time classic albums (Two Dancers and Smother, fact fans), you decided to call it a day and go your separate ways. Having emerged in a storm of theatrics in 2008 with Limbo, Panto, you blew my mind with Two Dancers and Smother, and then confirmed your position as Best British Band with Present Tense and Boy King. But now there will be no more from you, as in September last year you announced that “the four of us have decided, for our own reasons and in our own ways, that it is now time to leave this orbit”, and thus my heart shattered into tiny pieces.

There was something so special about you, the duelling vocals of Hayden and Tom, the groove that you could lock into, the lyrics that halted you in your tracks as you listened along to the intricate melodies and delicate flourishes. You sounded like no other band, and it made you stand out in a world of post-Arctics turgid lad rockers. The people, like me, who were into you, were really into you, professing our devotion to anyone who would listen. You were our special band, and we loved you. And then you went and called it a day. However, you were good enough to not leave us straight away: you gave us a new EP and the promise of a chance for a proper goodbye, three gigs around the country where we could get together and rejoice in the special music you’ve given us. For it would not be a wake, it would be a celebration. A celebration of the best British band of the last decade, a celebration of music so wonderful that it would have been criminal not to give it a proper send off.

We packed out the Apollo in our thousands to see you one more time, to revel for a final moment in your incredible sound. And you, Wild Beasts, did not disappoint, giving us, the humble people of Manchester, your greatest performance as a thank you. With no support, you promised a career spanning set over two hours (give or take the interlude), and you made sure that we went home in a state of catatonic bliss, not mourning, but grateful. Grateful that we got one more chance to hoot and howl along, mimicking Hayden’s glorious falsetto, swooning with Tom’s beautiful baritone, slinking along to the shimmering guitars of ‘The Fun Powder Plot’ and getting down to the thunderous bass of ‘Alpha Female’ and ‘Big Cat’. We hollered “don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck” with a knowing sense of irony during ‘Wanderlust’, and fought tears as the lights rained down, casting you all in silhouette during ‘Lion’s Share’. We clamoured to high five Hayden as he entered the crowd during ‘Celestial Creatures’, telling us “these are blessed times we’re living in”, a moment of stark truth as we realise we’re witnessing something truly special.

Wild Beasts

You came back on stage and gave us the chance to shred our throats shouting along to Tom’s shrieks of “watch me! watch me!” during my absolute favourite ‘All The King’s Men’, bouncing along with the elastic “woah woahs”, and you plastered a grin over all our faces with a boisterous ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyant’. Finally, in an act that somehow felt like you’d planned to from the very moment you wrote it in 2011, you summed up the entire event by finishing with ‘End Come Too Soon’, complete with a mid-song full band hug that flooded my eyes, and a Talk Talk-esque ambient break before breaking one last time into the repeated refrain that we all knew spoke the absolute truth, but something that tonight had helped us reconcile. End Come Too Soon indeed.

There were several minutes of hands aloft clapping, whooping and cheering as you took your final bows, and left us, fists triumphantly punching the air, knowing that you’d given us, the devoted fans, the show of your lifetime. No one is sad, no one is angry, everyone is buoyant. Yes, my heart is still bruised in the knowledge that we won’t hear new music from you again, but I can rest easy in the knowledge that you gave us your all, and went out at the very top. Some times break ups are necessary, but we’ll always have the good times to cherish.

Thank you Wild Beasts. Thanks for the last 10 years of brilliant albums and spectacular shows. Thanks for ‘All The King’s Men’ and ‘Albatross’. Thanks for everything. You’ll be deeply missed.

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