The final night of Wild Beast’s UK tour to support their latest release ‘Boy King’ ends at the Cambridge Junction. Not only did they provide a remarkable and regimented performance that’s clearly road-tested, but they brought along two incredibly riveting support acts.
Ardyn submerged the early crowd with a delicately-designed wave of melody; the Gloucestershire duo have a sound that is distinctively English, but with a flavour of Youth Lagoon or Wye Oak creeping into their uniquely idiosyncratic, British patois.
Following on is Jamie Lee’s ever-elegant, always enthralling outfit, Money. After a spattering of live performances throughout the year since the January release of their second record ‘Suicide Songs’, they proved on the final night of this tour why they should be intrinsically regarded as one of today’s most ingenious songwriting troupes. With his dry wit of a different order and a confidence so naturally born, Lee steers a captivated audience through a selection of recent songs. Mesmerising as always.
One thing is certain of Wild Beasts. The new material is powerful and compelling live, much more so than on record. Opening with ‘Big Cat’, it’s still as sleazy and sexy as ever. The stage show itself is pastellised, neon, like a dystopian Vice City, with it’s bold lighting and it’s games console visual rhetoric.
The Beast’s latest reincarnation works for this stage in their career. Surprisingly, this new direction lends itself well to the old sound, despite hefty comparisons. Favourites like ‘We’ve Still Got The Taste Dancing On Our Tongues’ is tastefully reworked with harmonising sawtooth synth parts, which compliment the new angle.
What’s apparent from this performance is how Wild Beasts aren’t afraid of moving away from the last record and creating a new direction. Always evolving, always fresh, and still never sounding like anyone else. What makes this bold career ethic even more commendable is how they weave their former set into their new persona, by remodelling the songs of old. It’s great to see how ‘Wanderlust’ can sit so uniformly next to new track ‘Alpha Female’.
Despite initially not caring for ‘Boy King’, it’s always wonderful to be proved wrong when seeing an established and respected band perform new material live. It’s different when seeing songs in a new light… in this particular instance, the light is forensically bright, and neon. Despite a shaky performance of ‘All The King’s Men’, this set put Wild Beasts back to the forefront and manifested their position as one of Britain’s most distinctive and accomplished live acts.
Words by Jack Stevens