“We drove clear across the country and we’re genuinely happy to be here in Chicago. This is a massive country. Actually, when we landed in Los Angeles the time was before the time it was when we left Australia!” vocalist and co-frontman Tom Fleming said during his band Wild Beasts’ show last Thursday at the cozy Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago, the first night of their two night stand in the Windy City. “This is the first time we’ve ever played two nights in a row in the same city. Ever.” Chicago, consider yourselves lucky.
The visibly exhausted quartet from England didn’t reveal any of that throughout their fantastic set. The band has practically circled the globe since their release of their breakout sophomore effort from 2009, Two Dancers. England to Netherlands to Australia to Los Angeles to Chicago (ah…the luxuries of being a professional musician) was the trip the band has made in recent months and after listening to their performance, you would’ve thought they all were playing their one-off finale.
The band’s mixture of material from their newest effort as well as their solid debut, Limbo, Panto, created a solid set list. “The Fun Powder Plot” predictably opened the set, as it appears as the first track on their new album, slow buildup intro followed by the comical lyrics sang by seemingly polar opposite vocals of falsetto lead singer Hayden Thorpe, “This is a booty call/My boot, my boot, my boot, your asshole!” into the bass driven “We Still Got The Taste Dancing On Our Tongues”. The band’s mix of bongo mixed percussion and booming bass drums gives some of the songs an almost tribal sound, and the echoing guitars dance their way around the songs. Thorpe and Fleming are basically the same musician, switching bass and guitar throughout the set, both taking turns on the piano as well as mixing their vocals amongst one another. Falsetto can either be something you completely hate or love endlessly.
Let this not overshadow the contribution of lead guitarist Ben Little, who cannot be overlooked in the exquisite layering of instrumentals for the band. Their ability to overlay different sections to near perfection was extremely impressive and cohesive throughout the set. Other highlights include hit single “All The Kings Men” as well as the emotional “Two Dancers (part 1)” as well as the band’s questionable & risky original debut single from their first album, “Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants”. Thorpe commented during the set as a waitress walked through the crowd serving drinks, “I seem to have ran out of beer. There it goes…we were meant to be” as the waitress unknowingly walked towards the back of the crowd, holding a platter of Pabst Blue Ribbon, providing some aspect of comic relief supplied by the band. The friendly atmosphere mixed with the band’s near-flawless set put the audience behind the band and made for an excellent night of music.
“The Fun Powder Plot”
“We Still Got The Taste Dancing On Our Tongues”
“All The Kings Men”
“His Grinning Skull”
“When I’m Sleepy”
“This Is Our Lot”
“Hooting & Howling”
“Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants”
“Two Dancers (part 1)”
“The Devils Crayon”
“The Empty Nest”
“Cheerio Chaps, Cheerio Goodbye”