Even Wild Beasts seemed to be surprised by the reception they got at the Entry Wednesday night. After their two-day trip from Seattle to Minneapolis, the band -- whose popularity has been growing steadily since last year's Two Dancers -- were genuinely grateful for the enthusiasm of the audience, who danced and catcalled throughout the nearly hour and a half long show.
At one point, a male crowd member even shouted out that he'd like to touch Hayden Thorpe's hair, which hung over the singer's eyes. Thorpe suggestively replied, "Give me your address and I'll send you a locket," before the resulting barrage of requests caused him visible embarrassment.
The truth was, though, that these charming lads from Leeds earned every bit of the love they received with a dazzling performance.
From the very beginning when they walked on stage to a hilarious voice-over and got the crowd singing along shortly thereafter, Wild Beasts' tongue-in-cheek melodrama was enthralling. What was most impressive was that Thorpe's renowned falsetto, such an integral part of the band's music on record, was every bit as stunning in person, if not more so.
Even in the Entry's intimate environs, Thorpe's voice commanded a sizable presence, particularly as he attacked the soaring notes of "Hooting and Howling" and the throaty growls of "Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants" with the entirety of his range. It wasn't at all difficult to imagine how well his voice would carry over in the Mainroom.
Despite Thorpe's display, it was very much a two-man show, with Tom Flemming sharing lead vocals (the two also went through a continuous rotation of instruments as they shared guitar, bass, and keyboard duties). While Thorpe was perhaps the more dramatic of the two, Flemming's delivery was certainly the more theatrical: particularly on "All the King's Men," he stumbled back and forth and caressed the mike stand, playing up the seductiveness of his rich, deep croon.
Not surprisingly, some of the night's best moments came when the two played off each other, with "Devil's Crayon" a particular highlight.
Still Life Still opened the evening with a set that was dancy in the trebly, harmony-driven manner that has characterized so many Canadian bands in recent years. Draping the stage in neon lights, the Toronto five-piece played angsty, uptempo indie rock that owed a clear debt to Broken Social Scene but did a good job getting the crowd warmed up.
Shaggy-haired guitarist-vocalists Brendan Saarinen and Eric Young sang mostly in unison, their guitars blending with samples and effects while drummer Aaron Romaniuk drove things along with energetic, hiccuping patterns. The show consisted mostly of songs from their full-length, Girls Come Too, although they played a couple new songs as well, one of which had a distinctly dance-punk feel.