Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London
February 17 2018
Words: Alison Mack
All photos ©Paul Michael Bowden
And so the end has come and for Wild Beasts this Saturday night in West London marked their final curtain. The Kendal art-pop group bid a farewell after 16 years on the stage of Hammersmith's Eventim Apollo where the capacity filled venue saw their idols go out on a night to remember.
With five albums upon which to draw material from, they were certainly not lacking in choice. This finale show saw them bring out four songs from their 2008 debut album ‘Limbo Panto’ through to six numbers from 2011's 'Smother', and five drawn from 2016’s ‘Boy King’.
The 23 song setlist is near as perfect as one could wish, encompassing each of their records. Split into two sections, the first half saw them open on Hayden Thorpe's falsetto and the soft guitars of 'The Fun Powder Plot', handing over to Tom Fleming for 'The Devil's Crayon', two early in career numbers, before 'Smother's 'Reach A Bit Further', and 2014's 'A Simple Beautiful Truth'; while the second part of the set was a fire-on-all-engines blaze starting with 'Boy King's 'Get My Bang', along with 'Big Car' and 'Alpha Female' from the same work - augmented by the liberal use of confetti cannons and strobe lights - the latter which Thorpe introduces with, “this is a story of girl meets boy, boy meet… alpha female,” as Fleming embarks on getting in amidst the front row fans to exhibit some rock star guitar moves.
The interchanging vocals throughout between singers Thorpe and Fleming, as well as instruments, does not diminish or detract from the overall effect of encompassing rhythms, evocative, undulating guitars and the shivery synth motifs. Nor from the unadulterated delight it gives the thousands of fans present, who join in with singalongs, cheers and applause.
The end comes with suitably, an extended ‘End Come Too Soon’, which soars in epic fashion around the auditorium, to a wail of howling, feedback-shredding close, broken midway by the four band members embracing in a group hug.
It's emotional, affecting and a glorious ending to what has been a sterling existence for Wild Beasts. While this night may have been the final curtain for Thorpe, Fleming, Chris Talbot and Ben Little as a unit, let's hope it will not be goodbye to them as individual artists in future endeavors.