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Friday, February 12, 2010

Last Night: Wild Beasts, Still Life Still, and Magic Bullets at the Independent

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Wild Beasts
  • Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts, Still Life Still, and Magic Bullets
Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010
The Independent

Better than: Feeling unappreciated.

Foreign bands can be so grateful for San Franciscans. Last night, at their second-ever U.S. show, English falsetto-pop outfit Wild Beasts gushed about their adoring, sold-out audience almost as much as the glam-y crowd gushed about them. "This is a dream come true," upper-register uberman Hayden Thorpe pronounced on roughly his fourth thank-you to the Independent's throngs. "We weren't really expecting this," his counterpart, Tom Fleming, confessed.

Wild Beasts
  • Wild Beasts

​Maybe they weren't expecting this excitement everywhere, but here? Wild Beasts' eloquent, civilized madness seems a perfect match for this sensitive, stylish metropolis. Many of the horn-rimmed-glasses-wearing fawners sung along. This was no small feat considering the band's verbose tendencies result in tongue-twisters like: "Us kids are cold and cagey, rattling around the town, scaring the oldies into their dressing gowns, as the dribbling dogs howl." These chaps sing prose -- ruminations rife with interior rhymes and complex commentary -- not your typically run-of-college-radio cryptic poesy. But then, crowds go for that sort of thing here in the 49-square-mile eternal hipster bubble.

Wild Beasts
  • Wild Beasts

​What we don't often hear is such a competent mishmash of Thorpe's propulsive upper registers and Fleming's muscular mid-tones, the combination of which electrified the band's songs as much as (or perhaps even more than) the ultraprecise percussion of drummer Chris Talbot. Post-show fanboys could be heard among the Divisadero nicotine clouds doing their best falsetto, rekindling the indelible melodies of "Hooting & Howling" and other earworms. Thorpe switched up with Fleming frequently, trading vocals, bass, guitar and keyboard responsibilities, with the vocalist for each song cornering the center-stage mic. Thorpe's girlish, narrow profile, with brown schoolboy boots and a decidedly feminine mop, contrasted with the round-headed Fleming, who rocked a squarer shilouette and a nifty pair of white sneakers, adding (with guitarist Ben Little) a Brit-brute bad-ass counterpoint to the band's contemplative cocksureness.

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Ian S. Port


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