15 years into their career and The Wombats are still as relevant as they were on the release of their first album ‘A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation’ which flooded indie discos and made the band a staple thanks to singles such as “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” and “Moving to New York”.
Although the quality has waned with more recent albums, the band still tries to force themselves out of their comfort zone as they have for their latest album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ which strips the sheen from previous records and finds the band going back to writing infectious guitar riffs.
One thing that’s incredibly apparent is the age of most of the audience this evening. Feeling like you’ve stumbled halfway through a sixth form disco, the bar is strictly serving 1 drink per person to cut back on underage drinking. It just goes to show the resurgence the band have had with a new generation which is largely in favour to constant rotation of the singles by Radio 1.
Opening up with the psychedelic ’Cheetah Tongue’, the crowd are quick to catapult drinks around and Rock City quickly descends into a chaotic mess of sweat and beer, so just an average night for the venue really. ‘Cheetah Tongue’ focuses on the pressures of adulthood and tonight it feels a little ironic that it’s being sang back by an audience just about to finish their A levels.
Within the first four songs, the band showcase all four sides to them. From the scrappy guitars of ‘Kill The Director’ from the first album to the bubblegum-pop of ‘Give Me a Try’ from 2015’s Glitterbug. ‘White Eyes’ lifts from the Arctic Monkeys ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ with a bluesy guitar riff which descends into madness. It’s great to see a song from the new album receive such an enthusiastic response with the audience even starting a circle pit.
There’s a lot of dead air between songs which diverts the crowds attention and thankfully the band have enough hits under their arsenal to quickly grab it back. The band strays from the path with ‘Pink Lemonade’, a deep cut from ‘Glitterbug’ which could have easily been substituted for ‘Backfire at the Disco’ or ‘Be Your Shadow’.
The set picks up energy from ‘Lets Dance to Joy Division’ and the encore of ‘Turn, ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Greek Tragedy’. One thing is for certain is that The Wombats don’t rest on their laurels when they could easily following the likes of their peers like Bloc Party and The Kooks doing Greatest Hits and 10th anniversary album tours. You have to give them a great deal of credit for pushing the new material and hopefully the resurgence pushes them to new heights. The band are competent enough at this stage to be headlining festivals, they just need more energy behind them.
Photos by Dan Hess.