After fifteen years, five albums, twelve tours and a Mercury Prize nomination, British indie-rock shmoozers Wild Beasts have disbanded. The group announced their split in a Twitter post last September, and have maintained that the decision comes from a place of both preservation for the project, and amicability. To celebrate their success, the band revealed plans for a series of farewell gigs, along with the release of their live record ‘Last Night All My Dreams Came True’ which is available to stream now.
Their final show took place at at the Hammersmith Apollo, but the four-piece played one last Irish date on Thursday night at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre.
With no support act to ease fans into the evening, the dimming of the house lights is met with vigorous applause, introducing energy that doesn’t let up throughout the entire set. It’s clear from the off that Wild Beasts are chuffed to be here, and on their second-to-last appearance as a group, it all gets a bit emotional.
As The Fun Powder Plot opens proceedings, the most notable visual aspect of staging is the quality and scope of the band’s gear. Their musicianship is undeniable, and their basic set-up of drums, bass, and guitars appear like extensions of their bodies. Intertwined with this innate musicality are the effects of the electronic elements of the live setting, which give depth to the tone, amping up the sounds-just-like-the-album factor. Contemplating the cost and design of guitarist Ben Little’s pedal set-up alone is enough to bring a grown woman to tears.
Hayden Thorpe’s vocal delivery doesn’t falter, and the further he gets into the set, the more he settles into the playful side of the band’s aesthetic. Ponytail is flirtatious and bass-heavy, and the crowd eat it up. The Lion’s Share sees Thorpe placing himself at the edge of the Olympia’s stage, close with the audience who belt out every lyric with emotional enthusiasm. There is no doubt of the space which will be left in the industry when Wild Beast’s wrap up, and the crowd are determined not to let them go without a fight.
The first of two encore’s opens with Get My Bang, which bangs, obviously. Big Cat, also from the acclaimed 2016 album ‘Boy King’ raises the bar, and lets Wild Beasts do what they do best – affected sexy lyrics with massive instrumental builds. Towards the end of the song the bass becomes almost too much, as we contemplate if sound alone could possibly level the theatre. Alpha Female closes the first encore (which amounted to nine songs) on a high, with booming builds and a real sense of joy. The only thing louder is the crowd, who don’t let a second pass in silence – there were sure to be some sore throats in offices across the city on Friday morning.
Wild Beasts return to the stage to close out the evening in a colourful LED glow, and appear genuinely moved by the response from the crowd. For the last ten minutes or so an impassioned fan has been holding an ‘End Come Too Soon’ t-shirt aloft in a desperately sweet display of grief, which is nothing compared to how the song actually goes down. Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants and All the King’s Men are both met with standing ovations from the theatre, until finally the opening bars of End Come Too Soon electrify the crowd who start preparing to say goodbye.
There can be no doubt that Wild Beasts have some of the most dedicated supporters around, who recognise their influence on indie-rock and beyond. What gives hope is the unwavering devotion on display during this show, which is sure to transfer to support for solo projects in the future. This is a crowd who love music, and the members of Wild Beasts love to make it. With this level of musicianship and an already devoted fanbase, there is no doubt that the two will meet again, in one way or another.