It’s been just over a decade since The Wombats released their critically-acclaimed debut album ‘A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation’ and, although they may not have reached the same heights since, new album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ is a fantastic and infectious release full of indie pop disco and psych-rock – and it even has a certain Madchester vibe to it.
Now, looking around the venue I’m certain that about 75% of the audience would have been around the age of 6 or 7 when The Wombats’ debut album was released, but this shows that the Liverpudlian marsupials are just as relevant in the world of music today as they were some ten plus years ago. In fact, somehow, they seem to be more popular than ever – maybe due to their constant presence at festivals across the UK. Whatever it may be, tonight’s show was a fantastic opportunity to see the band still in their prime.
Opening with psych-rock belter ‘Cheetah Tongue’ from their new album, this was a set-list not just designed to showcase their new album, but it also included huge hits such as ‘1996’ (the irony being that most of the people in the audience weren’t even born then), ‘Kill the Director’, and ‘Jump Into the Fog’, with the adrenaline-fuelled crowd jumping around like absolute maniacs throughout.
As chants of “we hate Sunderland” spread across the venue, the band lashed through a mix of new and old songs including ‘White Eyes’, ‘Techno Fan’ and ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’ (the latter a fast-paced indie-pop song revelling in the absurd, with lyrics including: “I’m unhinged and you’re undone. I’m not getting out of here alive; I brought a lemon to a knife fight”).
Other notable moments included a pack of hairy wombats joining the band on stage (okay, they were people in wombat suits), chants of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” (okay, this seems to be becoming quite the norm at every gig I go to now), and giant balloons being thrown across the venue, even reaching the upstairs balcony area.
This was a strange and wonderful gig, just as The Wombats wanted it to be.