Wild Beasts deliver sex-obsessed, swaggering Glastonbury performance

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The forward-thinking four-piece are in their pomp on the Other Stage

This is another song about fucking,” declares Wild Beasts’ Tom Fleming before performing ‘Ponytail’, but in truth he could be introducing just about any track from their setlist. Wild Beasts’ rise to the Other Stage has been constantly entangled with sex, desire and all the complicated in-betweens. And today (June 24) they turn a previously sleepy Glastonbury crowd into a hot mess.

Wild Beasts remain a band on the outskirts – not quite all-out pop, but never self-indulgent experimentalism. It’s also one of life’s weird mysteries how they haven’t won a Mercury Prize. Their left-of-centre, forward-thinking records definitely deserve that credit.

Today they leapfrog between the ultra-macho charge of ‘Big Cat’ and the more tender ‘We Still Got the Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues’. Sex is almost always on the agenda, but these guys are capable of exploring the subject with nuance, instead of coming off as crass.

Frontman Hayden Thorpe, sporting an all-white combo that would make Johnny Borrell jealous, goes from purred falsetto to bellowed chants on standout ‘Wanderlust’, while Fleming takes the lead on early single ‘All the King’s Men’. “You’re a candied queen, let me show my darling what that means,” he sings, and somehow it doesn’t seem creepy or over-the-top. Most bands wouldn’t and shouldn’t go near lust, but Wild Beasts are kings of this world.

Setlist:

Big Cat
A Simple Beautiful Truth
We Still Got the Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues
He the Colossus
Hooting & Howling
Mecca
Ponytail
Wanderlust
Alpha Female
Get My Bang
All the King’s Men
Celestial Creatures