Wild beasts live at Manning Bar Splendour Sideshow

Wild Beasts @ Manning Bar Sydney 28/7/2014


Wild Beasts may have played to a smallish crowd in the North Byron parklands a few days ago due to the Aussie festival scene’s love affair with all things Hilltop Hoods, however here in Sydney Wild Beasts’ unique brand of indie synth-pop has built them a legion of dedicated fans. Bands such as Wild Beasts thrive on these smaller more intimate shows and the huge line of impatient Beasts fans waiting for doors to open at 8pm was an indication of the excitement that was brewing.


Adelaide’s Jesse Davidson was the beneficiary of the early arrivals and had a lot of people in the room excited with his somewhat lazy style of indie pop. A Triple J regular over the past year, Davidson’s Sinatra-like vocals and classy guitar work set a nice mood in the room and soon had the crowd smitten with his smooth-as-butter jams, including the popular Big Bois Gotta Eat.


The well mannered boys from Kendal, England arrived to equally well mannered applause from the Sydney crowd. However, after the Wild Beasts boys finished their set opener Mecca, the polite applause turned to raucous enthusiasm as the infectious grooves of Hayden Thorpe’s sexy-ass bass washed over the audience. After an extended break from touring and recording after 2011’s Smother, it was interesting to see the effect that the slightly more refined Present Tense had when shifted to a live environment.

With vocal duties swapping between Thorpe and guitarist ‘Tom Fleming intermittently throughout the set, Wild Beasts proved to everyone that the gorgeous subtleties of their most recent release were not lost in a live setting, with tracks such as Pregnant Pause and Daughters sending shivers down spines.

An extended version of End Come Too Soon was a fitting finale to the show, capping off a remarkable set which had me thinking as to what Hilltop Hoods could possibly have done to top the performance I had just witnessed.


Drummer Chris Talbot is an all-in-one percussion section and his simple yet inventive drum fills are fascinating to watch. Never have toms and bongos played such a starring role in a drummers repertoire.


Wild Beasts‘ new synth-heavy sound is a plus on record and adds a new dimension to the live show previously un-utilised, however; the synth bass was a little too earth shattering for human ears, which vibrated the whole of Manning Bar, sometimes overbearing the mix to the point of being unrecognisable.


“Who likes AC/DC? ” …(Crowd)”Yew”…”Shut up”.

Jesse Davidson had seemingly employed the world’s grumpiest/sassiest drummer.


Alistair is the founder of Bear Family. Alistair resides in Sydney and can be found wandering the streets searching for bargains and peppermint tea. Come and say Hi, he's nice.

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