Wild Beasts / Mutual Benefit Corona Theatre, Montreal QC, July 15

Wild Beasts / Mutual Benefit Corona Theatre, Montreal QC, July 15
Photo: Matt Bobkin
Known for creating music that's both remarkably odd and outwardly sexy, indie-rock outfit Wild Beasts have become one of the most intriguing English bands of the past decade, thanks to their signature soaring falsettos and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Always critically acclaimed, but not always commercially successful (on this side of the Atlantic anyways), Wild Beasts recently emerged from a short hiatus with their fourth studio album, Present Tense. With the video for their latest single, "Wanderlust," coming in just shy of one million views, Wild Beasts took to the Corona Theater stage last night (July 15) to demonstrate why.

Opening for Wild Beasts were the equally talented Mutual Benefit. Led by the band's creator and only steady member, Jordan Lee, Mutual Benefit continued to ride the wave of success achieved with their last album, last year's Love's Crushing Diamond, playing to a somewhat small yet fascinated crowd that seemed to soak into the music, beer in hand, some with heads cocked to the side.

Weaving seamlessly through song after song of tender odes to love and the human condition, the band demonstrated a well-rehearsed calm, as Lee sipped on a bottle of red wine between songs. While their message differed slightly from Wild Beasts' own hedonistic interpretations of love and togetherness, Mutual Benefit served as the perfect opener for the night's headliners.

Opening with their latest single "Mecca" off Present Tense (which beckons the listener to "move and fear in desire") Hayden Thorpe's steady, high-pitched voice glided over the rest of the band's unified sound as he stood centre stage, eyes partly closed, arms outstretched to the crowd. Seamlessly moving from song to song, Wild Beasts made their way through a good balance of old and new tracks, Tom Fleming's guttural voice pairing perfectly with Thorpe's.

The first half of their set was relatively tame, with Thorpe and Fleming dropping in little "Merci beaucoups" and quiet stage banter about learning French and being in a nice city in between songs. However, before launching into "Palace," Thorpe took the time to state, sincerely, that their songs "fall into two categories: songs to fight to and songs to fuck to," and, after a little earpiece mishap that made them pause their song for a good 30 seconds, Thorpe returned to the mic. "Like fucking, sometimes things just go wrong."

After a brilliant performance of "Wanderlust" followed by crowd favourite "All the Kings Men," Wild Beasts finished their encore with flair, as guitarist Ben Little and Fleming delved into an improvised drone breakdown to end a wonderfully orchestrated night.