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Live Review: The Wombats @ Rock City, 28/09/2015


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Entering Nottingham’s Rock City just ten minutes short of The Wombats headlining set, the thickness of the sweat in the air was almost overwhelming. The swarms of friendship groups eagerly bobbing around the sold out venue had their fringes gelled to their foreheads and a buzz about them.

Now, there’s an expected audience at each artist’s live performance. For The Wombats, there was a divide in the audience. On one hand there were the fourteen year olds keenly Snapchatting, bemused by the drunken uni students feeling affectionate.

Also seemingly confused by the few grey haired partiers, who have liked the band since their prime.

Then there were those young adults, who had waited damn years for this and were reliving their fourteen-year-old life at nappy nights.

Guess who was the latter.

Bursting onto stage with a favourite from the latest release ‘Glitterbug’, the Liverpudlian’s falsetto reached new heights of capacity, taking the roof off.

Alighting an instantaneous sing-along, Nottingham were raring to ‘Give Me a Try’.

Then began the trip down memory lane.

Explosive fan favourites, slouchy, synth dripping ‘Jump into the Fog’, guitar driven ‘Moving to New York’ and moodily static ‘1996’ could have all been carried through purely on the crowd’s voices. 

Greeted by cheers and ‘fuck yeah’s they haven’t aged a day, the groove was strong and the movement passionate.

Electronic fan favourite ‘Techno Fan’ proved its capital, one of the biggest treats of the evening dripping with added synth.

As the three-piece juggled numerous instruments between them, the arrangements were impeccable. These guys are no strangers to the stage, nor are they bored of it.

Thrashing into ‘Patricia the Stripper’, the opening riff alone zapped cheeky, schoolboy grins.

By this point, many had surrended to the pits, then be proudly lifted over the barrier by the beefy guys in yellow jackets. Before gasping for water from them.

Frontman Murph barely has time to catch his breath, with no consequence to his smoked vocals that remained strong and energised, only complimented by the lad’s harmonious backing.

That, and the crowd’s gasping breaths.

The Wombat’s leave no time for messing, no time to just nip to the loo or reply to a text. Not that you’d want to. You’re captured in their rainbow world.

With the brightest, and most colourful of lasers their energy shines just as bright. Fooling around, and letting your hair down is what it’s all about, the three-piece set this from the off.

Following the ‘more mature’ Glitterbug release, ‘Be Your Shadow’s dark undertones go barely noticed. Chirpily chanting ‘kiss me with your fist it’s alright’ and generally having a good time, isn’t so understandable looking back.

Sultry ‘Emoticons’ and more downbeat ‘Curveballs’ speak to everybody who has a little vengeance in them against a once significant other.

Spinning a story about how he got pissed abroad for two nights alone and convinced himself that his girlfriend was going to cheat on him, Murph announces ‘This is Pink Lemonade’.

The sugar rush track set a giddy atmosphere with sparkling keys, setting off bopping heads.

‘The English Summer’ really burst with life, as bassist Tord took a break from darting from one side of the stage to another with unstoppable enthusiasm. But only because he got caught in the wires so was held to the floor.

Bringing the set to a close with dance floor favourites ‘Kill the Director’ and ‘Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)’ every word slinked with uplifting energy.

Charismatically cheeky, the crowd were stomping, hands were raised and throats were starting to get sore.

Emerging alone for the encore, Murph gave a tender rendition of ‘Isabel’. A sway inducing, touching moment that somehow slotted in the bubble-gum world we were all in.

Though, there was no time for sentiment. As ‘Greek Tragedy’ ‘hit like ecstasy’ with a rhythm that caves into you. 

With no disappointment did the band end with ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ an absolute belter. The final injection of The Wombat’s infectious ways.

In the live show, all of our favourite songs are only touched with more magic to bring back waves of euphoria. Merged with latest releases, although collectively both band and audience have grown up, maybe even matured – it’s clear that the love for the classics will never fade.

After so many years, our hearts still keep the same section open for cheesy love songs with goofy lyrics, and though our tastes may have developed – we’re all stick suckers for the dentist-loathing sugary hooks.

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