Wild Beasts: O2 Apollo, Manchester

Over 16 years, five albums and countless gigs, Wild Beasts have decided to call it a day; though not without playing three final shows with Manchester’s Apollo serving as the venue for the penultimate farewell.

Sophomore album opener ‘The Fun Powder Plot’ provides a gentle ease into the evening’s proceedings with its hypnotic percussion underneath singer Hayden Thrope’s signature falsetto rings throughout the room; a room which erupts as soon as they play the opening notes of old favourite ‘The Devil’s Crayon’. The back and forth between Thorpe and fellow vocalist Tom Fleming coupled with intelligent and sexually progressive lyrics sounds more akin with a song released now as opposed to this; released a whole decade ago. It’s a running theme throughout all of Wild Beast’s body of work that in turn has helped them shine in the crowd throughout their history.

As they play their way through this history we can see that whilst the themes haven’t changed, they’ve matured from talented young men to adults who exude stage presence as the command the attention of this large venue.

The tempo slows with softer songs from their back catalogue such as ‘Mecca’, ‘Loop the Loop’ and ‘Lion’s Share’ before leaving the stage to a huge applause.
They soon return with an explosion of confetti as they kick into ‘Get My Bang’, which gets the whole room dancing again. More big hit singles are reeled off one after the other with the likes of ‘Hooting & Howling’, ‘Big Cat’ and ‘Wanderlust’; showcasing just how strong a selection of songs they have to choose from.

It’s a well balanced set drawing a fairly even number of songs from each of their five albums in order to minimize any chances of disappointment though the crowd is far from that. The emotions almost run over a bit as one crowd member gets a bit too involved with Thorpe when he descends into the crowd; provoking an angry response from Fleming though order and the good mood is quickly resumed.

They leave the stage once more and to be honest, it’s hard to begrudge a band multiple encores when they’ve had such a long career and deserve the applause.
Upon their return, they again take things back to their first album with ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’; the band’s very first single way back in 2008. This is swiftly followed up by another crowd pleaser in the shape of ‘All the King’s Men’. The band takes a moment to thank the audience and embrace in a huddle before ending their second to last show ever on the aptly named ‘End Come Too Soon’. It’s hard to imagine they could have foreseen the emotion heavy response it draws tonight back when they wrote it for ‘Smother’ seven years ago.

Whilst the common word amongst the crowd used to describe Wild Beasts is ‘underrated’, they’ve also managed to carve out a decent career in what has and continues to be a turbulent industry and judging by the performance here; they’ve ended on a high.