Eventim Apollo – 17th February

There’s something incredibly poignant about hearing a song be performed live as it was intended for the final time. It’s like dying cells forbidding you from hearing a certain frequency ever again. It’s at once beautiful and melancholic. One last hurrah.

This feeling permeated the night as Wild Beasts took to the stage with a career-spanning setlist to make peace with the last 10 years together. The Cumbrian four-piece decided to call time last year, ready to get on with the rest of their lives. In doing so, the band leave a hole unlikely to ever be filled. And it’s none so more apparent than tonight.

Arriving during the era of lad rock, Wild Beasts arrived defiant with something darker yet graceful. They tackled sexuality, masculinity and the grey areas in between with an eloquence and wit that seemed to recoil and delight in both. It was sensual and grimy, desperate and hopeful. It was Wild Beasts.

And so to this final night, where Hayden Thorpe’s despondent cry of “All we want is to feel that feeling again” on Mecca takes on an entirely new meaning. The band muster few words between songs, some even looking as shaken by the prospect as some members of the crowd.

It’s an emotional farewell, but it’s one that reminds you of the power of Wild Beasts. Why so many people fell in love with this band completely at odds with the rest of the musical landscape. Tom Fleming even muses to the crowd “God knows why they gave that budget to a band like us” in reference to the band’s debut Limbo, Panto.

The nigh on perfect setlist is packed full of the songs that captured hearts and mind, played for one final time. Songs dying right before your eyes. From the fidgety ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’ to the silky ‘Deeper’ right through to the confetti canon accompanied ‘Get My Bang’, which saw the band double down on the seedy sensuality, the setlist celebrated everything that made this band so special. Each song receives a rapturous applause; a 21-gun salute sending those final notes off into the ether.

Smother’s beautiful closer, ‘End Come Too Soon’, proves the perfect eulogy. As the feedback rises and Thorpe proceeds to hug his band mates one by one, the realisation that this really is it hits like a tonne of bricks.

But before the audience can pull themselves together, the curtain drops to reveal a choir for one final sublime send off as they join in with Thorpe’s harmonies. The mournfulness shifts to celebration. As the band leave the stage, the choir break into an a capella rendition of Limbo Panto’s ‘Cheerio Chaps, Cheerio Goodbye’ – a fittingly cheeky end.

It’s hard to think where things might go next. Wild Beasts were a singular band, a fearless one, and their loss will be keenly felt judging by both the audience and band’s reactions over the two hour plus set. For now, though, we can rest assured this glorious farewell proved a fitting finale to a band that meant so much to so many. Cheerio, chaps.

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